Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Pancakes For Kids At IHOP Today

I just got wind of this deal, but since there are still plenty of hours left today to get in on it, I wanted to pass it on.  Today, Friday October 28th, IHOP restaurants are giving away free kids pancakes until 10 P.M.  You can go to the IHOP website for more details.  The offer is good for children 12 and under, and no other purchase is necessary.  It sounds like a fun treat for kids!

Picture from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Cake In A Cup - Oh Yes, You Can!

Oh yes, you can make chocolate cake in a coffee cup in the microwave!  The kids were wanting something chocolately and sweet, but I was not in much of a baking mood this afternoon.  I have heard rumors that you could actually make individual chocolate cakes in the microwave, so it was off to Google I went, searching for the tasty treat.  I did happen to find one, so we tried it out today.  In place of the plain flour, I used whole wheat flour instead.  We made ours with the optional chocolate chips, because my motto is more chocolate is always better!  This was a really easy to make, and the kids said it was really yummy.  If you want some chocolate cake, but don't want to make a whole one, or don't want the temptation of a whole one sitting around (hey, it's great portion control!), this is the recipe for you.  I adapted the recipe from here, and each mug is about two servings of cake.

Microwave Chocolate Cake in A Coffee Cup

1 large coffee cup
4 tbsp whole wheat flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips

In coffee cup, add whole wheat flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.  Stir until well blended.  Add egg and mix together well, then stir in the milk and oil. Stir until mixture is the consistency of cake batter.  Mix in chocolate chips.  Place coffee cup in the microwave and cook on high setting for approximately 3 minutes.  Cake may rise over the top of the cup (kind of like a muffin top).  Remove cup from microwave, let cool, then dig in!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Hour At Sonic

Every now and then, it is nice to get a treat.  With a larger family, going out to get a treat can be expensive.  We have discovered that Sonic Drive-In restaurants have a "happy hour" every day from 2PM-4PM.  During those hours, all drinks and slushies are half off.  We were out and about yesterday afternoon, so we popped through the drive-through and bought slushies on a whim.  I bought 3 small and 1 medium slushes for a little over $3.00.  What a bargain!  I appreciate the fact that amongst their slushie offerings, they have an option for a slush made with real fruit (we usually get that kind).  Just thought I would pass it along, it's a nice option to have when there are thirsty kids around!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oatmeal Banana Bread Bars

We always seem to have a few more bananas than we can eat before they go bad.  I came up with a new recipe to use those extra bananas. It has a slightly different texture than the same old banana bread we usually make - bread like, but also like a bar.

Oatmeal Banana Bread Bars

1 cup softened butter
3 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups quick oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat together butter, banana, and eggs.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips.  Fold chocolate chips into the batter.  Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spicy Roasted Pepper Hummus

I really wanted to try my hand at making some hummus, and since my Bountiful Basket came with a few of the ingredients I needed, I decided to give it a whirl.  I have now successfully made two batches, and I wanted to blog about it so I remember how I made it - it is yummy!  The first batch I made with roasted red peppers, and the second batch I used roasted orange and yellow peppers.  Both varieties were delicious.  Many recipes call for tahini - I had no clue what this was so I had to google it.  It is a sesame paste.  Some recipes used peanut butter instead, so that's what I used in mine because I always have it in stock at home.
We have been using the hummus as a dip for pretzels, and I also spread some on a tortilla and rolled it up for a snack.  Many people also use it as a veggie dip.  It is an incredibly nutritious dip to make, and it is a nice source of protein and fiber. 

Spicy Roasted Pepper Hummus

2 bell peppers, de-seeded and cut in strips
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling peppers
6 cloves of garlic
2 - 15 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 lemon - juiced
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place strips of bell pepper on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes (will be brown around edges).  Remove and let cool.  In a blender or food processor, chop garlic cloves.  Add garbonzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, peanut butter, 1/4 cup of the water, crushed red pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, and parsley.  Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of blender/food processor.  Add roasted pepper strips a few at a time, as well as the remaining water, until mixture is blended well.  Transfer mixture to a bowl or storage container.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ranch Zucchini & Tomato Crockpot Recipe

Every year, my neighbor seems to grow an abundance of zucchini.  Not just any zucchini - these are ginormous zucchinis!  She often sends some of these zucchinis my way.  In years past, we have made tons of breads, and I am always on the lookout for new ways to use them.  My garden this year happens to be putting out quite the crop of tomatoes (well, for us anyhow!).  With the abundance of tomatoes and zucchini around here, I wondered if I could come up with a yummy recipe that incorporates both.  It turned out wonderfully delicious!  I was able to get two different batches of this recipe made out of one of my neighbor's gifted zucchinis (seriously, they are huge!), so I figured one large zucchini, or even several smaller ones, would be just about enough to make this dish.  I hope you like it as much as we do!

Ranch Zucchini & Tomato Crockpot Dish

24 oz Sour Cream
1 oz package of Ranch Dressing/Seasoning Mix (such as Hidden Valley)
8 oz Shredded Cheese
1 lb Hamburger, browned
1 Large Zucchini, peeled, de-seeded, and sliced
5-6 Large Tomatoes, sliced

Mix sour cream and ranch dressing/seasoning together.  In bottom of crockpot, spread a little bit of the ranch sour cream, enough to cover.  Layer zucchini, tomato, hamburger, ranch sour cream, and cheese - lasagna style.  Keep layering ingredients, ending with the ranch sour cream and cheese on top.  Cook on high crockpot setting for around 5-6 hours, or until zucchini is tender.