30 November 2012

Jiffy Muffins - Quick and Easy


I haven't used a box of Jiffy Muffins, probably since college. In college, they were kind of a staple. We could get 4 boxes for a dollar, and they really helped fill out a meal of canned soup. 

The other day, I came across a recipe for augmenting the chocolate muffin mix, so I thought why not buy a couple of boxes and give it a try?

I like cooking hot breakfast for my kids in the morning, but some mornings it seems like time is short. Rather than fall back on cold cereal, I tried the muffins. It's a quick and simple breakfast, just add fruit and scrambled eggs. 

Jiffy Jam Muffins

2 boxes Jiffy chocolate muffin mix
your favorite jam - we used strawberry

Mix muffins according to package directions. Line muffin tin with paper liners. *Drop in 2 Tbsp. of batter, top with a tsp. of jam, cover with another 2 Tbsp. of batter. Bake according to package directions.

*I used the Pampered Chef medium scoop, not quite full. It's perfect - about half the amount of the large muffin scoop.


Quick, easy and delicious. An irresistible combination.

What do you make for breakfast?

28 November 2012

Tuesday Link Party - Trail to Eagle



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As I mentioned in this post a little over a month ago, we had to find a new Eagle Project. It has been a bit of a road to get here, but we are almost there. My son found an organization that was thrilled to work with him. They are Urban Peak, Colorado Springs, a youth homeless shelter. He is doing a combination food drive and construction project for them.  
We have conducted a food drive and I am guessing we have about 500 pounds of food, grocery store gift cards, and an additional 6 garbage bags full of clothing in good condition. Our friends and neighbors were incredibly generous.

The construction part will happen this Saturday. He and his troop will be installing a cook/prep station and cabinet along with an outdoor grill on the outdoor patio next to the shelter. They will also deliver the food and clothing at the same time. After that - all that's left is the write-up. 

On my To-do list? 
1. Eagle project
2. Christmas stuff
3. clean my oven (sob)

What's on your list? Link up below:


27 November 2012

Giveaway Winners! and Menu Plan Monday


Before we talk about food, I want to announce the winners of the nightgown giveaway. Thanks everyone who entered! The competition was pretty hot for a couple of sizes. Here are the winners:

Ashley - "Poinsetta would probably fit Cicilee best. 
(Plus she is getting an American Girl doll for Christmas and would LOVE to match.)"
 
Erin C. - "I love the toile the best, but I think Saige would love the stars." 
Sometimes, Mom wins...:) 

Michelle - "Gold stars on cream would fit Elizabeth best, 
but I could also save red polka dot for Annie..."
 
 Shalee - "What a fun give away! I love all your nightgowns and between my two girls 
one of them could wear any of your holiday gowns" 
 
Jami - "Those are the cutest night gowns ever! #5 would fit Navi, 
I really like the Christmas ones, I am a sucker for anything holiday and festive but they are all darling."
 
Grand Prize Winner: Shalee!

Congratulations everyone - and thanks for playing! I will be in touch.

Now, about the menu...

MONDAY

Butternut Squash Soup
biscuits

TUESDAY

Crock pot French Dips

WEDNESDAY

Turkey and dumpling soup
Bread

THURSDAY

 Breakfast for Dinner

FRIDAY

Pizza Night

SATURDAY

Panini
Leftover soup

SUNDAY

Pork Chops
Green Beans with prosciutto
Sweet Potatoes

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!
 

24 November 2012

SALE!

 

 
Lavender Avenue is having a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale! Drop by my shop and check out the deals! While you're there, please note that Etsy sales are eligible for Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday was started by American Express to encourage people to give some of their holiday money to small businesses. As Etsy shops we ALL count. This means that anyone shopping in an Etsy shop can use their AmEx card and will get a $25 credit. See the details here.

For a list of other participating shops, please click here

Also, don't forget the Giveaway! There are lots of chances to win. 


22 November 2012

Giveaway from Lavender Avenue

Holiday Flannel Nightgown  sizes 2-8

Have you been over to my shop and looked at all the new nightgowns? Well, today might be a good day to stop by.

I am giving away 5 nightgowns out of my inventory of holiday fabrics. These 5 are specific sizes, so pay attention! Numbers 1, 4 and 5 come with the matching 18" doll gown. I am also giving away a grand prize of one white flannel nightgown (size 2-8) with matching 18" doll nightgown. 

Poinsetta fabric, size 4, 18" doll gown
  Toile fabric, size 4

Gold stars on cream, size 5

 Gold snowflakes on cream, 18" doll gown, still under construction :)

Polka dots! Size 2 gown and 18" doll gown

Grand Prize: 1 long sleeve flannel nightgown (sizes 2-8) and matching 18" doll gown

Leave me just 1 comment telling me:

1. Which of the 5 holiday nightgowns you would like to win
2. You stopped by Lavender Avenue on Etsy and which nightgown is your favorite
3. You followed this blog

Be sure to include your e-mail so I can contact you if you win.

This giveaway will be open from Wednesday, November 21, through Sunday, November 25 at midnight. I will choose a winner for each nightgown by drawing, then all the names will go into the grand prize drawing for the white nightgown. Winner will be announced on Monday, November 26.

21 November 2012

Tuesday Link Party - What's on Your To-Do List?

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Last week, I finished something I've been working on for awhile. I am so excited to show you! 

Before I do show-and-tell though, I want to let you know about something really fun coming up tomorrow.  Starting tomorrow, I am hosting a giveaway of a whole bunch (6!) of holiday nightgowns from my Etsy shop, Lavender Avenue. There is a size 2, a size 3, two size 4's and a size 5. Some of them even come with a matching 18" doll nightgown. There will be a grand prize of one of my white flannel nightgowns in any size (2-8) with matching 18" doll gown! Make sure to stop by tomorrow to enter the giveaway, and tell your friends!




I loved knitting up this simple little dress. The pattern is the Textured Dress from Knit Simple spring/summer 2012. I love the simple stitches that add so much texture and interest.The only part that wasn't my favorite was what felt like a mile of skirt in stockinette. I like my daughter's dresses a bit longer, especially if I just spent 80 hours knitting one - I want it to last a while. Fortunately, I had some forced "down time" last week and just whipped the last 8 inches of skirt right out. If you want to stop by Ravelry, you can see my project here.


What have you been working on? If you're doing holiday projects, especially, I'd LOVE to see!



20 November 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Thanksgiving

 

I love the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I love the prep work and the festive atmosphere (except the grocery shopping...) and I love planning our Thanksgiving menu. It's going to be pretty simple this year, it's just us, but we're having friends over for pie, so I will make the full complement of our favorite pies. Our evening meals are planned for the purpose of using up stuff in the fridge and not leaving leftovers, so there's lots of room for the Thanksgiving food.

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

MONDAY

*Menu finalizing and grocery shopping
Panini and fruit
TUESDAY

*Make bread cubes for stuffing
*make pie crusts and refrigerate 

Chicken and broccoli Alfredo

WEDNESDAY

*Make Pies: pumpkin, pecan, apple, lemon meringue, cherry(?)
*Saute onion and celery with seasonings and mix in with bread cubes
*Make persimmon jello

Pancakes and sausages, fruit

THURSDAY

Turkey
Stuffing (have you seen this idea?)
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Green beans
Green salad
Cranberry sauce
Persimmon jello
Pie

FRIDAY

Open face turkey sandwiches

SATURDAY

Shepherd Pie
SUNDAY

Turkey and dumpling stew

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My Stuffing Recipe
 
Disclaimer: I do not use a recipe to make stuffing. I just make it the way my mom and Grandma always have. This is my closest approximation to our family recipe.

8 - 10 cups day-old bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
5 celery stalks, diced (dice in larger chunks if you like the crunch to stay)
1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed until edges are golden and crisp (optional)
2-4 Tbsp. butter
2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
4 cups chicken broth

*Additional ingredients, such as chestnuts or pecans can be added if desired.
**  If we want cornbread stuffing, we make cornbread on Tuesday, cut it in pieces and let it sit out for two days. We then mix it into the bread cubes at the end, just before adding the chicken broth.
Place bread cubes on a jelly roll pan, spray lightly with cooking spray and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, turning once, until toasted and lightly browned. Set aside in large bowl and cool.

Heat large saute pan. When hot, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter. Saute mushrooms in oil/butter mixture. Do not crowd the pan. When mushrooms are done, spoon them onto a paper towel to cool. Return pan to heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil and 2-3 Tbsp. butter to pan. Add diced onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent. Add poultry seasoning to taste (I use about 2 tsp.), salt and pepper and cook a little longer. Set aside to cool. 

Mix cooled mushrooms and onion/celery mixture into bread crumbs. Set aside and let sit. I sometimes do up to this step the day before Thanksgiving and let all the flavors blend together.

Just before baking, beat egg into 1 cup chicken broth and and blend into bread crumb mixture. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish and put stuffing in it. Pour remaining chicken broth over all until wet, but not swimming. Bake in 350 degree oven about 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and stuffing is moist and heated through.

16 November 2012

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Indian Corn: no description 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the story of the Pilgrims and how they had to learn to adapt to life in a new place. How they had to learn to accept help from unexpected sources. I love the opportunity to talk about gratitude with my family and to reflect on the things we are grateful for. More and more the last few years, I feel like we sort of skip from Halloween to Christmas. I feel a little sad that Thanksgiving seems more attached to a huge Christmas shopping event and that little recognition is given to a day that is so reflective of our nation's history.

I also love the food. I am grateful for the food. I love planning and preparing a Thanksgiving meal to share with family and friends. I love sitting together around the table and sharing what we are grateful for. I love how the leftovers feed us for days afterward. For Thanksgiving this year, we are planning a very traditional feast.

Turkey
Mashed potatoes and gravy
sweet potatoes
stuffing
cranberry relish - and I think I am going to try this recipe from Crystelle this year
green beans 
homemade rolls
pie (pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, lemon meringue)

It's really all about the pie... and pecan is my favorite.

Pecan Pie - originally posted November 2011

First things first - I personally believe that this pie is all about the crust. If the crust isn't great, the pecan pie won't be - and that would be tragic. 

I use the basic pie pastry recipe that came with my Cuisinart. It never fails and it is flaky and buttery and absolutely wonderful.


Basic Pie Pastry (in a Cuisinart)

Makes 3 9-inch pie shells (or 2 pie shells and some pie crust cookies)

2 ⅔ cups flour
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
½ cup ice water

Use metal blade to process flour, butter and salt until mixture is like coarse meal, about 8 seconds. Add ice water and pulse until dough begins to clump together. Do not let it form a ball. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and put each in a plastic food storage bag. Work through each bag to press dough together into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour.
Roll each disc of dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Press into place in pie pan. Trim dough, leaving 1 inch overlap beyond edge of pan. Fill pie crust and continue as instructed for recipe.
For a pre-baked crust, bake 12 minutes at 400°.

Our favorite pecan pie is one made with no corn syrup. I love the crunch on the surface of the pie from the real sugar. 
This is the pie right out of the oven. As it cools, it settles a bit and you can see the pecans.


Pecan Pie
 
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 T flour
1 T milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy and stir in melted butter. Stir in brown sugar, white sugar and flour; mix well. Last, add the milk, vanilla and nuts.

Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400°, then reduce temperature to 350° and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done.




 

15 November 2012

The Apron of Many Pockets


Every so often, my sister needs something that requires sewing. Don't get me wrong. She can sew, but it's a secret. Also, she doesn't have a sewing machine.

A few months ago, she phoned and said, "I need an apron with lots of pockets. Lots and lots of pockets." 

I happened to have just the right amount of striped ticking in my stash, and plenty of coordinating scraps. I also have a great go-to apron pattern. I am sure I could make this one up, but the pattern is just so easy, and why reinvent something if it works?


The only real change I have made over the years to this pattern is to sew the neck strap to the bib of the apron. I think it's really annoying when the strap comes out of the apron. If the neck needs adjusting smaller, I just tie a knot in the back. Otherwise, it works fine to be able to adjust the sides.

For my sister's version, I cut out one large pocket and 9 smaller pockets and pinned them evenly and stitched them on. That's it.  It was super quick and easy, and she likes it!

I am thinking seriously about aprons as Christmas gifts this year. Nice sturdy ones. Maybe I'll use D-rings on the neck so that it can be adjusted.

What are you making for Christmas gifts this year?

14 November 2012

Tuesday Link Party - What's on Your To-do List?

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This week I will be at Grandmother's House Boutique. It's my first boutique, and I am learning a lot. Today was set up. I am selling my nightgowns and my mother is selling some of her quilts. The photo is of my booth about half finished. Still a little ways to go.

I am hoping to get some knitting done while I mind my booth. We shall see. I am nearly done with my daughter's knit dress.

My son and his friend were stuck helping me for most of the afternoon. They were bored for a little while and then they invented a game with pieces of pvc pipe.


What have you been up to? Link up below:


13 November 2012

Menu Plan Monday

 

This week I am participating in my first ever holiday boutique - or first ever boutique - to be exact. It's definitely a week for the crock pot meals. Thank goodness I have some already in the freezer. I am excited to show you photos of my booth and the boutique when it's open.

MONDAY


TUESDAY

French Dips - crock pot
fruit

WEDNESDAY

Leftovers

THURSDAY

Cranberry Pork Chops - crock pot
Stuffing
veggies

FRIDAY

Take out - pizza or Chinese

SATURDAY

Dad's in charge

SUNDAY

Chicken Cacciatore - crock pot
Good crusty Italian bread


Linking up to Menu Plan Monday!

09 November 2012

Fly Off The Plate Pancakes

This is a re-post of a family favorite. If you haven't tried these pancakes, you don't know what you're missing.

From May 2010: 

I am going to post one of my family's favorite breakfast recipes. This recipe is found in the very desirable and exclusive family cookbook: Scrambled Dogs and Guckempuckie (pronounced Gew-kum-pu-kee, saying the ew like you are German and can do a u - umlaut).

Fly Off the Plate Pancakes

You will need 2 bowls and a fork and some measuring cups/spoons

In the first bowl, combine:
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
dash salt

In the second bowl, combine:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream ( I use plain yogurt sometimes)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Beat wet ingredients until foamy, then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. It should have little bubbles all over.


Heat your pan over med. heat. Put a pat of butter in the pan and wait until it is just melted. My pan is totally disreputable, but it cooks a good pancake.


Pour in the batter - I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup and cook 3 pancakes in my pan. Cook until little bubbles form around the edges of the pancake.


Flip them over and cook them for just a few more minutes.


Remove to a plate and keep on cooking. I double this recipe for my family of 5 - believe me - they go fast!