Christmas Tree Brownies

Yesterday, I told you about mini reindeer donuts. Today, I have another fun holiday treat to show you – Christmas Tree Brownies. We shared this sweet dessert with my oldest daughter’s classroom to celebrate her birthday.

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I baked my homemade brownies. I cut the brownies into triangles. NOTE: I was able to get clean lines by cutting the brownies using a plastic knife while it was still warm in the pan. A plastic knife makes a big difference versus using a regular knife.  A great tip I found on TheFrugalGirls.com.

After the brownies were completely cool,  I decorated them using Wilton Cookie icing – Green, mini red M&M’s as ornaments and mini yellow M&M’s as the stars.

ChristmasTreeBrowniesDecorate

Have you made any Christmas Tree shaped treats this holiday season?

You can get my homemade brownie recipe HERE.

Find more Christmas and Holiday Ideas HERE.

(I’m linking up to  I’m Lovin’ It and The Frugal Girls!)

Mini Reindeer Donuts

I had so much fun making these Mini Reindeer Donuts. Aren’t they cute? They are an easy-to-make Christmas treat.

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Last year, I made Mini Snowman Donuts for a birthday snack for my twins’ classroom. They wanted a similar treat this year. I remembered all the cute Reindeer shaped treat ideas I posted previously. We decided on the mini reindeer donuts (seen on Free-N-Fun Christmas).

ReindeerDonutsMaterials

I used Wilton Candy Eyeballs. The antlers are made out of pretzels. I found using alphabet pretzels, specifically the letters “Y”, “T”, “F” and “J” work great. The noses are red M&Ms. I used Wilton Tube Decorating Gel – Brown to keep the eyes, noses and antlers in place on the chocolate donuts.

Have you made any reindeer treats this holiday season?

Find more Christmas and Holiday Ideas HERE.

(I’m linking up to The Frugal Girls!)

Freezer Cooking: Mini Banana Loaves, Smoothie Pops and 11 More Items

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I have been filling my freezer with several homemade meals, snacks and breakfast items since my kids started school. The frozen meals help on busy nights. My family also enjoys having a variety of breakfast options besides cereal. It’s easy to warm up a banana loaf, waffle, french toast or muffin.

Here are the many meals, snacks and breakfast items I cooked and froze during the past few weeks.

LowFatChocolateMiniMuffins

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  • French Toast Bites – I make homemade bread every other day. I often cut up my children’s sandwiches in cute shapes such dinosaurs, dolphins, and hearts using sandwich cutters. (My kids like getting these shaped sandwiches in their lunchboxes.) I don’t want to waste the outer parts of the bread slices. So I store the extra bread pieces in a freezer bag and when there’s enough pieces I make French Toast Bites.

What have you been freezer cooking lately?

I’m on a mission to make food ahead of time and freeze it. It provides us homemade food that is convenient while also saving us money. If you missed my previous Freezer Cooking posts, then be sure to find them HERE.

(This is linked to The Frugal Girls.)

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

Applesauce Cinnamon Oat Muffins Recipe

I have shared my favorite muffin recipes with you in previous posts – Banana Oat Mini Muffins, Breakfast Muffins and Chocolate Mini Muffins. Now, I am excited to share these Applesauce Cinnamon Oat Muffins.

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This Applesauce muffin is delicious and also happens to be low fat. (Using the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, one muffin is 5 Points Plus.) I usually bake mini muffins but I like to make these regular sized.

These Applesauce Cinnamon Oat Muffins are a hit with my family. They are great to have for breakfast or a snack.

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Applesauce Cinnamon Oat Muffins recipe

(Recipe from TasteOfHome.com)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose  flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2  egg whites

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter,  melted

Stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce, milk, canola oil and egg whites.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Do not overmix.

Make topping by combining oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter together.

Coat muffin pans with spray. I like to use Pam Baking Spray. Place batter into muffin pans.  Fill muffin cups about three-fourths full. Add topping onto each muffin.

Bake at 400° for 16-18 minutes. (Oven temperatures may vary, so total baking time may be different for you.) Cool for 10 minutes. Makes around 24 muffins.

Note: I do freeze our Applesauce Cinnamon Oat Muffins. I warm up one muffin for about 30 seconds in the microwave. (Microwave times vary)

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I also have a recipe for Apple Coffee Cake using applesause that is a favorite with my famly. Do you have any favorite recipes that use applesauce?

Happy Cooking!

(This is linked to Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, I’m Lovin’ It and The Frugal Girls.)

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

Freezer Cooking: Whole Wheat Pancakes, Chicken Cordon Bleu and More

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During the past two weeks, I did a better job filling my freezer with homemade meals and breakfast items. I was more productive compared to my last freezer cooking post (March).

Here are a few meals and breakfast items I cooked and froze during the past two weeks.

What have you been freezer cooking lately?

I’m on a mission to make food ahead of time and freezing it. If you missed my previous Freezer Cooking posts, then be sure to find them HERE. My goal is to make and freeze food in less than 2 hours every 1 to 2 weeks. I don’t necessarily mean whole meals but food items that we can get from the freezer. It provides us homemade food that is convenient while also saving us money.

Bread Crusts and French Toast Bites

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I’ll make my kids a sandwich and more often than not the crust goes un-eaten. I thought maybe they would be have a different opinion with homemade bread which I make at least once a week with the help a bread machine.

Unfortunately, my kids don’t like the crusts on homemade bread either. So, I usually end up cutting it off.

I prefer not to waste these pieces of crust. Tamar Adler talks often in her book, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, about not throwing away your scraps of food but instead finding a different purpose for it. Sometimes you need to be creative. One example she mentions is turning stale bread into croutons. This seems obvious and is what I would normally do with bread crusts.

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One Saturday morning I was making French Toast and had extra batter. That morning I also had a bag full of bread crusts. I then had a light-bulb moment. I dumped the crusts into the batter. Stirred to make sure all bread pieces were covered and soaked for about 15 seconds.

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I then cooked them in my pan. And that’s how I came up with French Toast Bites.

No wasted bread crusts. No wasted extra French Toast batter.

The best part – The kids love them even though it’s the bread crusts they wouldn’t eat when it’s on a sandwich.

Also, there’s no need to cut the French Toast into pieces. Just put on a plate and pour syrup. Yum!

If you’re wondering what recipe I use for my French Toast batter, it’s the same one used in our Waffled French Toast. The batter recipe I use for the Waffled French Toast is also what I make for regular French Toast.

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French Toast batter recipe

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

NOTE: I am able to make 12-16 slices of French Toast with this recipe. Last time, I had extra batter and used it to make these  French Toast Bites.

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(This is linked to Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, I’m Lovin’ It, Works for Me Wednesday and The Frugal Girls.)

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

Rice Krispies Treats (Vanilla Cream)

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I originally posted about these yummy Vanilla Cream Rice Krispies Treats last spring (2011).

Find out how to make them HERE.

Freezer Cooking: Last Month (March)

My freezer cooking was light during the month of March. There are times when my cooking routine slows down. Whether it’s because of lack of time or motivation or a combination of both. It happens, right? This happens to you, too? Oh well, on to the next month.

Although I wish I did more, I am happy with what I did accomplish. Here are the few meals and sweet treats I cooked and froze in March.

FreezingBananaMuffins

FreezerTacoandMeatballs

I hope to post new freezer cooking sessions in the near future. Stay tuned.

What have you been freezer cooking lately?

I’m on a mission to make food ahead of time and freezing it. If you missed my previous Freezer Cooking posts, then be sure to find them HERE. My goal is to make and freeze food in less than 2 hours every 1 to 2 weeks. I don’t necessarily mean whole meals but food items that we can get from the freezer. It provides us homemade food that is convenient while also saving us money.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

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Here’s a yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe. It’s no bake and easy to prepare.

Warning: Unlike some of my sweet recipes, this is NOT low fat. I cut my bars into small squares. This is my attempt at portion control.

I have been wanting to try this recipe for some time. It is from AllRecipes.com. Recently, I noticed Peanut Butter Bars are popular and can be found all over the internet (on blogs and Pinterest.) My blogger buddy, Janae of Keeping Cents, made some last week and posted about it on her Facebook page. This got me motivated to finally make this sweet recipe.

I am glad I did. They are like homemade Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. The difference is the homemade version is not as sweet which I think is a good thing.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Recipe

(from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients

For peanut butter filling:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs – I used the ones from a box. You could make your own from graham crackers but you need to make sure they are finely crushed.
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, melted

For chocolate topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter

PeanutButterBarsIngredients

In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and melted butter using a hand mixer until well blended. Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment or wax-paper.

PeanutButterBarsSpread

Melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter stirring until smooth. Spread melted chocolate mixture over the peanut butter filling mixture.

Refrigerate for at least one hour. I refrigerated for 1.5 hours and it was fine. Cut into squares.

Store in refrigerator.

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NOTES

  • Some make this in a 9×9 pan. I prefer the bars thin so I make it in a 9×13 pan.
  • I cut the bars into small squares (a little more than 1 inch square) so they are like Mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.
  • I store them in the freezer.

Do you like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter?

Happy Cooking!

(This is linked to Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange and The Frugal Girls.)

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin Recipe (Slow Cooker)

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I told you last month how I’ve been cooking most Sunday dinners using a slow cooker. It’s makes dinner prep easy and my Sundays are more relaxing. Even better is when it’s a freezer cooking recipe like our Slow Cooker Beef Stew. The recipe in this post is not a freezer cooking recipe. But, it is simple to prepare with tasty results. Recipe is adpated from AllRecipes.com and Let’s Dish.

Sweet Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pound boneless pork tenderloin NOTE: I use two (2) 1 lb boneless pork tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • For Dry Rub 1 teaspoon ground sage 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 clove garlic, crushed (or 1 tsp dried minced garlic)
  • For Glaze 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 cup water

Combine and mix together sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over tenderloin. Place 1/2 cup water in slow cooker and then pork tenderloin. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. NOTE: It usually takes 6 hours on low for tenderloin to cook in my slow cooker – cooking time will vary based on your slow cooker. About 1 hour before tenderloin is done, combine ingredients for glaze (brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and water) in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture starts to thicken slightly. Brush glaze on pork tenderloin 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. You could pour the rest of glaze on top of the tenderloin. We choose to serve the remaining glaze on the side. We LOVE the glaze! Happy Cooking! (This is linked to Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange and The Frugal Girls.)