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  • This one of those recipes that is fun to experiment with. I’ve made it a few different ways with various dried fruits and nuts. One ingredient I recommend that you not improvise with is the brown rice syrup. When I could not find it at my usual market, I substituted agave syrup. Although it tasted great, it didn’t bind well and the bars were more like clumps. Don’t skimp on this item. Purchase the brown rice syrup online if necessary. To get the recipe, click on the article I wrote for Parent Society.

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  • cookies in a jarAs ubiquitous as they may seem to some in their quaint, kitschy way, who  can’t resist  homemade cookies? And if you can make the planning and preparation that much easier, you’ve got the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions for those layered cookies in a jar you can pass out to all your friends, relatives and kid’s teachers. Put all ingredients in a Mason jar decorated with some nice fabric, ribbon and a tag with recipe and baking instructions.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Read the rest of this entry »

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  • This is a family recipe. My mother baked this cake every fall. Add a little extra apples for a moister cake.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups of sugar
    • 1 cup of oil
    • 2 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
    • 3 cups of flour
    • 3 tsp. of baking powder
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • juice of one orange or 3/4 cups of OJ
    • 4 large apples
    • 3 T of sugar
    • 2  tsp. of cinnamon

    Peel and chop the apples and sprinkle with the cinnamon and 3 T of sugar. Beat the eggs and add the 2 cups sugar and oil, juice of orange and vanilla. Sift flour in separate bowl and add to the eggs and sugar mixture.  Put half of the batter in pan, half of the apples and then rest of batter and top with remaining apples. Grease and flour pan and bake 1 1/4 hours at 350 or until done.

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  • cookies before they go into the oven

    cookies before they go into the oven

    I made a lot of labor intensive elaborate cookies over the holidays that were almost too pretty to eat. This one was by far the easiest to make and the kids’ favorite. Make a double batch. They won’t last long. The recipe comes from my late mother-in-law who had a real sweet tooth. By the way, there are no actual peanuts in this recipe since it calls for walnuts, but I suppose you could use peanuts.

    Ingredients:
    unsalted Saltine crackers
    1/2 cup of sugar
    1/2 cup of brown sugar
    1 cup of melted butter
    12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips
    1 cup of finely chopped walnuts

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 11 x 13 cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Layer the crackers side by side to cover the cookie sheet. Mix sugar, brown sugar and butter and pour over the top of the crackers. Spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes. While still hot and bubbly sprinkle on the chocolate chips and nuts. When cooled off, separate from foil and break into “brittle” pieces.

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  • I don’t usually describe food as fun, but recently I tried Bear Naked granola and I loved it. ( I would just like to interject here that I am not a paid endorser of the product, and I didn’t get freebies to try it either. I just liked it and want to share it with you.)  My kids were asking me to make them yogurt, fruit and  granola parfaits so I picked up some Bear Naked granola and some Stonyfield yogurt and on the inside lid of the yogurt I found this recipe for granola cupcakes. I have made them twice. The first time with The Heavenly Chocolate granola and the second time with The Vanilla Almond Crunch granola.  The added granola makes for a very interesting and fun texture. My family loved them.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 T plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract (Can omit or use less if using vanilla yogurt.)
    1 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
    2 cups of all purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder
    2 cups of Bear Naked granola

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping bowl constantly. Add yogurt and mix well.

    In a separate bowl sift all the dry ingredients except for granola. Add to butter mixture until well blended. Fold in the granola.

    Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve warm or cooled. Frost if desired.

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  • READ

    If your family does not have a dog, chances are you know someone who does. This pleasant series by Alexandra Day highlights the adventures of Carl, a rottweiler, who is left alone to take care of a baby. Once the mom is away, the two, dog and baby, take off on wild adventures together. It is pure fantasy of course, with very little text, which leaves a lot up to the reader’s imagination.

    DO

    For all the dog lovers in your life, make these yummy dog treats. Keep some for yourself and give some away.

    Ingredients:
    1 package active dry yeast
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 cups cornmeal
    2 cups uncooked, old fashioned oats
    1 cup each loosely packed fresh mint leaves and parsley, chopped.
    1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
    3/4 cup milk

    Also need: rolling pins and cookie cutters preferably in the shape of a dog biscuit and/or a mailman.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees) . Let stand until yeast foams, about 5 minutes.

    In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. With wooden spoon, stir in yeast mixture, broth and milk until combined. Knead with hands until blended.

    Divide dough in half. Cover one half with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. Place other half on lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out as many biscuits as possible and use spatula to transfer biscuits to ungreased cookie sheet. Reroll trimmings and cut more biscuits until you use up the remaining dough.

    Bake small biscuits for 30 minutes and large ones for 40 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature in airtight container for up to 3 months. Makes 4 dozen large biscuits and 24 dozen small biscuits.

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  • This post is a first in a new series I am creating under the category  “Read and Do,”  in which I will be pairing popular childrens’ book with hands-on projects and activites designed to inspire children’s love for reading.

    READ

    Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, is a charming story about a little girl named Sal who goes blueberry picking with her mother. They plan to make preserves, only Sal eats everything they have picked! When Sal goes off to pick some more, she gets lost. Read it to see if she gets reunited with her mother.

    DO

    Bluberry Buckle

    Ingredients for topping:
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 cup butter, softened

    Ingredients for batter:
    1/4 cup butter
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. baking powder
    2 cups bluberries, washed and stems removed

    To make topping: Stir the dry ingredients together and mix the butter in using a fork and knife until it’s nice and crumbly. Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch square pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, and stir in the milk and mix until smooth.

    In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Gradually stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture. Gently fold in the blueberries and then spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping over the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

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