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April 29, 2013

Recipe for Lighter Chocolate Cherry Muffins

Click for Recipe for Gluten Free Lighter Cherry and Dark Chocolate Muffins
Gluten Free Lighter Cherry and Dark Chocolate Muffins

The hardest thing for me after I stopped eating gluten was the lack of snacks. Most store bought gluten free snacks taste similar to cardboard and still cost an arm and a leg. After trying every type of snack that I could eat at the store I finally gave up and started cooking all my snacks from scratch. Cooking gluten free from scratch proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. The type of flour and the amount of leavening ingredients can have a great impact on the outcome of the food. This week I tried a new recipe for gluten free Lighter Chocolate Cherry Muffins from Everyday Food magazine.

This recipe has 9 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, 15 minutes of which is active and makes 12 servings. I did make a number of modifications to the original recipe. First the original recipe was not gluten free. I ended up making two versions of this recipe, one with gluten for the rest of my family and another batch gluten free for myself. For the gluten free version I used gluten free Bisquick. My baking time was longer than the recipe stated, by approximately 5 minutes. The gluten free version actually rose better and came out lighter than the gluten version. I think the regular version needed 1/2 cup more baking mix than the original recipe used.

These muffins taste a little bit sweet, but not anything like a cupcake. If you are looking for a sweet muffin, this recipe wouldn't fit your needs. The muffins turned out light with a hint of sweetness from the cherries and chocolate chips. I liked that the muffins weren't overly sweet so they were perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

For the recipe go to Lighter Chocolate Cherry Muffins.

April 28, 2013

Recipe for Coconut Shrimp Curry

Click for Recipe for Coconut Shrimp Curry with Basmati Rice
Coconut Shrimp Curry with Basmati Rice

As many of you already know my oldest son is a shrimp fanatic. He could eat shrimp three times a day and be completely happy. Especially if it also involved bacon in some manner. My mother had a shell fish allergy growing up so we rarely ate shrimp at home and it was always too expensive at restaurants. Luckily I haven't seemed to have inherited the allergy (except I avoid oysters) so my family has shrimp once every week or two. My kids could eat shrimp plain, but my husband and I prefer sauces and curries. Last week I tried a new recipe for Coconut Shrimp Curry from the Oxygen Summer Meals 2012.

This recipe has 14 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to the original recipe. First I served the curry over basmati rice. I used one large red onion and bought pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms. As I always do I bought wild caught US shrimp. The majority of the time spent in this recipe is from peeling and de-veining the shrimp. Since I do it so frequently I can get it done pretty quickly and I buy extra large shrimp which has about 20 shrimp to the pound.

My family loved this recipe. It had a little bit of kick from the sambal oelek, but not enough to be spicy. There were no leftovers since my kids ate their servings and the extra sauce that was left. If you don't want to serve the curry over rice it would also be delicious alone.

This recipe is not currently available online, but can be found in the Oxygen Summer Meals 2012 on page 48.

April 26, 2013

Guest Post: Food Strangers Who Become Food Friends

My name is Joanne aka mickeydownunder and today I am VERY excited to be Guest Posting thanks to Ann.

They say” (whoever they are :)), everyone in the world is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. I “used” to think I would have to live long enough to see this theory proven.

It was only when I “realized” through my passions and hobbies (which always revolve around food ;-) ) HOW true this theory is!


I am formerly American born and bred, (New York), now an Aussie who calls Australia home! I have the most wonderful husband (Chef Georgio as he is known in my blog posts on What’s On The List?  ;-) We are “truly” like two peas in a pod (yes food related and just ask our friends  :) )

Around 2002, I signed up to Food.com (formerly Recipezaar) as mickeydownunder. I am “THE BIGGEST” Mickey Mouse fan! I believe strangers are just friends one has not met yet! Over the years, I have met MANY wonderful food strangers, now friends online; SarasotaCooks aka TWINIE from Florida, have personally met Julie (and her lovely family) from Queensland, Australia, Leggy Peggy and Poor John from Canberra, Australia who has a travel blog called Where To Next?  and a food blog What’s Cooking on Page 32

I was chosen Member of the Month last November should you wish to read the interview. (http://blog.food.com/happenings/2012/11/01/member-of-the-month-mickeydownunder/)

Over the past month, I was Googling something (food related of course :) ) and came across a ‘welcoming site” called Winelady Cooks . I was looking to see if Joanne’s (connection Joanne :) ) Foodie Friends Friday Parties were for me!  What a GREAT way to meet new food strangers (like Ann) who now are food friends online around the world too!
For this week’s Crock Pot Party, I brought/“linked” my Oatmeal Amaranth SeededBread Cooked in a Crock Pot


See how “six degrees of separation” actually makes the world a smaller place? ;-)

I thought I would “interview” myself with some questions, so Food Strangers out there might like to become Food Friends too! ;-)

1. Why did you name your blog What’s On The List?
Everyone has that “proverbial” folder of “clipped and snipped” recipes they SAY they will make “one day”; but that day never “really” comes, but it does not stop us all from adding more “saved” recipes to the folder. I have now opened my folder and making recipes I never thought in a million years I would be able to do.

2. What’s been you most difficult food challenge to date?
Other than the Lemon Meringue Pie “incident” in my above interview, I recently was VERY “challenged” in deboning a chicken as part of the Daring Kitchen Cooks Challenge. I am also a member of the Daring Kitchen Baker’s Challenges too! I can “laugh” about the “challenge” and you can read for yourself on my Make No Bones About It post.

3. Did you always have a “passion” for cooking?
LOL…goodness no! I didn’t learn to cook until I developed the secret to a man’s heart was through his stomach too! ;-)

4. If you could meet a food related person, who would it be?
MARCO, MARCO, MARCO Pierre White…as I find him “intellectually stimulating”, “inspiring” and through his food, he “excites and delights” It would be THE BIGGESt “honour and privilege” meeting him and I “continue” to dream nightly that MARCO, MARCO, MARCO actually calls me!

5. Lastly, how would you describe your food success to date?
Success to me has always been defined (food or otherwise) by IF you could “touch” one person (truly “touch their heart and soul” and make a difference, than that’s what continues to be the “PASSION AND ENTHUSIASM” that “fires my desire” within me. There is nothing better than to cook with TLC, and the laughter, smiles and memories with friends …well, there is NO better food and life recipe!

April 25, 2013

Recipe for Hawaiian Burgers

Click for Recipe for Hawaiian Burger with Gluten Free Bun
Hawaiian Burger with Gluten Free Bun

My kids love burgers. It doesn't matter what type, they will eat them. My husband and I are also burger fans and I make them at least once every couple of weeks. I try to change up the type of meat I use since I make them so frequently. Some weeks I use pork, some chicken and occasionally beef. I try to make sure that the beef burgers that I make have something special since beef burgers can be a little boring and often dry. Pineapple is an add-in that my family loves in burgers and it is great with beef. This week I tried a new recipe for Hawaiian Burgers from the August 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 8 servings. I did make a few changes. First I made my own buns. I ate gluten free buns and the rest of my family regular hamburger buns. Lettuce isn't a popular burger topping in my household, so I left it off. I used leftover ham that I had from a recipe a few weeks back and had then frozen.. Finally I grilled the burgers on my indoor electric grill. They took slightly longer than the recipe suggested, but that is normal when using an indoor grill.

My kids really loved these burgers. They can be hit or miss on what they will eat, but they really liked this recipe. The burgers turned out very juicy from the pineapple and blue cheese, without being overpowering. I was worried that since the recipe had so many ingredients in the burger that it would taste too busy, but the flavors ended up working perfectly together.

For the recipe go to Hawaiian Burgers.

April 24, 2013

Uncommon Case Review and $50 GetUncommon.com Giveaway

This is a sponsored post see disclaimer at the bottom of the post for full details.  

My two boys love to draw. They can spend hours making complex drawings that they then get great joy out of explaining to me. Since they are boys many of their creations involve zombies or monsters, but they are always inventive and I love them. I would love to be able to share more of their art work to my family, but they live 2500 miles away in Washington state. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way that family could carry a piece of artwork with them at all times? Now there is a solution - GetUncommon.com.

Recently I was given the opportunity to create a great iPhone case using a piece of my oldest child's artwork. The process is very easy. Here is a video that explains the product:

The process of making the case is very easy:


  • Chose your case
  • Upload your artwork (or photo)
  • Make any changes
  • That's it!

    Here is the photo of the case that I made for my husband's iPhone 5.
    iPhone 5 Case



    iPhone 5 Case Back
    iPhone 5 Case Apart
    I kept the sides white since I wanted to be able to see the whole picture on the back. My oldest was so excited when it arrived and he has been showing it off to anyone that will listen. It was definitely a hit in my household.

    There were only a few problems that I ran into and that was more that my kids aren't fans of drawing with a lot of color so the case had a lot of white space. I think it might work better with girls that like to color or boys that are fans of finger paints etc. Also be careful of erase marks since they will show through on a high quality photo. I would suggest picking a painting or crayon drawing since they seem to work better than pencil drawings. 

    If your interested in your own case they are having a deal on their site. Right now Uncommon is celebrating Mother's Day with a great sale: Buy One, Give One from April 22-24. Use the code MOMSDAY at checkout, buy one iPhone case and receive a second of equal, or lesser value free. This deal is only valid on iPhone cases from April 22-24, 2013. 

    Interested in owning your own GetUncommon.com case? Then you are in luck! Right now you can enter on my site to win $50 to GetUncommon.com. Just enter on the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclaimer: I received a free phone case from GetUncommon.com in exchange for this post. As always all opinions expressed are my own.

    Sponsored Post: Free Glasses from Firmoo Crazy Giveaway

    This is a sponsored post see disclaimer at the bottom of the post for full details.

    Looking for new glasses, or a need an additional pair? I'm happy to share that Firmoo is giving out FREE glasses right now. In case you missed my review of their glasses and site a while back here is the link to the post Firmoo Glasses Review. They have a large number of styles to chose from and my prescription was perfect!

    Are you bored with your overused & old style glasses? Now is the time for you to replace those tired, outdated glasses that you may have had for so long and trade them in for glasses that are up-to-date, fashionable and perfect for you!

    It's also a given fact that we should have our eyes checked and glasses prescription updated once a year to reduce the risk of our eyesight deteriorating from using old prescription eyeglasses! There are times for all of us though that money is tight and we don't have the means to buy new or additional pairs. Glasses can be pricey!

    I recently found a great deal where Firmoo is giving out a free pair. They are offering FREE glasses (Frames + Lenses + Shipping = $0!) as well as discount coupons, so that any one of you can take an advantage of them! Don't miss out Firmoo free offer!
    Furthermore, if you are a first time customer at Firmoo, you can also get your first pair for free . Only pay a minimum $6.95 shipping fee.
    But for those who missed the free pair, you still don't have to be discouraged because they have another limited time offer which will save you 20% off on frames + total shipping fee
    Isn't that great?! Take your turn and try your luck at http://www.firmoo.com/z/crazy-giveaway.html

    Disclaimer: I received compensation from Firmoo in exchange for this post. As always all opinions expressed are my own. 

    April 23, 2013

    Recipe for Easy Blueberry Muffins with Banana Butter

    Click for Recipe for Blueberry Muffins
    Blueberry Muffins

    We eat a lot of snacks in my family. My two boys have inherited my metabolism and seem to snack continuously throughout the day. Most of their snacks are healthy and consist of nuts, fruit or veggies. However, once a week I bake a treat for an after school snack. When I first eliminated packaged snacks my kids complained. They have had a couple of years to adjust now and my oldest comes home asking what I made today instead of what I bought. To me that is success, he understands that the food in our house comes from the oven not a box. That isn't to say that they don't get a few treats, a box of cereal a week being a main one. There are very few homemade cereals that can actually be made (and taste good) and there is only so much granola anyone can eat. One of my kids favorite snacks is fruit and once every couple of weeks I make them fruit muffins as a treat. Yesterday as an after school snack I tried a new recipe for Blueberry Muffins with Banana Butter from the May 2013 issue of Food and Wine magazine.

    This recipe has 10 ingredients in the muffins and 4 in the banana butter. The recipe takes a total time of 45 minutes, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 12 muffins. I did make a few changes to the recipe. First I forgot to buy bananas, so the banana butter was out. As many of you know I eat gluten free, but I was making these muffins for my kids so I used bread flour. I never keep whole milk in the house to I used non-fat (the only kind we buy). Fresh blueberries are relatively expensive in my area right now so I used frozen instead. I tossed the blueberries in a small amount of flour before adding to the batter to keep the color from turning the muffins blue.

    Since I couldn't eat these muffins I had to use my two sons as testers. They must have liked them since they ate the whole batch in less than two days. The muffins cooked up nicely and they smelled great when cooking. My youngest thought they were best with melted butter (he also ate a few with nutella :). It seemed to be a very kid friendly recipe.

    For the recipe go to Blueberry Muffins.

    Crayola's Big Colorful Birthday Adventure

    This is a sponsored post see disclaimer at the bottom of the post for full details.

    My youngest loves to draw, especially with crayons. He runs to the crayon aisle almost every time we go to the store asking for a new box. Then after his crayon creations are done he runs to the fridge to add them to his growing collection. It is pretty cute!


    He is also very brand specific, he loves Crayola and knows the box by sight. I have tried tricking him into cheaper brands a few times and he has immediately noticed the difference. It must be learned because my mother-in-law only bought Crayola for my husband growing-up as well. I like the fact that they have been around now for 110 years making them a family tradition.

    Right now Crayola is celebrating their 110th anniversary in some great ways! Here is the information:

    "To celebrate their 110th birthday, the 8 original crayons are throwing a birthday bash at the new fun-omenal Crayola Experience, the world's only interactive Crayola family attraction. Right now, they're out on a colorful adventure to spread the news, and you're invited to join the fun!

    How can you join in on the fun? You can FOLLOW the crayons on their adventure, LEARN more about each color and enter to WIN a trip for 4 to celebrate their birthday and the Grand Opening of the all new Crayola Experience this coming May, 2013!

    Visit the Crayola Facebook page and click "enter now" for your chance to be first in line when the Crayola Experience reopens.

    The new Crayola Experience features four floors of new interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind attractions that will bring the magic of color and your child's creativity to life! The winner will be among the first to experience the fun, along with a three- night, all-expenses paid stay. It's an experience your kids will never forget - and neither will you!"

    I know my kids would love if we won this trip, my youngest would be so happy! Winning a family vacation is always a good thing. 

    Do your kids love to draw with crayons too? 

    Disclaimer: I received this information from Crayola. In exchange for this post I will receive a box of the limited edition 110th birthday pack. As always all opinions expressed are my own. 

    April 22, 2013

    Recipe for Buffalo Style Salmon with Blue Cheese Arugula Salad

    Click for Recipe for Buffalo Style Salmon with Blue Cheese Arugula Salad
    Buffalo Style Salmon with Blue Cheese Arugula Salad

    My oldest son is obsessed with seafood. From the time he turned 2 and had his first bite of fish he has loved any type of seafood. He is always begging me to buy him salmon or shrimp to eat. My youngest son shares his older brothers love of seafood and it is one of the few foods that he will eat without complaints. Since quality seafood is expensive we only eat it about twice a month. Also my children can eat 2 servings of salmon a piece, so it can cost a small fortune to feed them. I do believe that seafood is an important part of a healthy diet and we eat salmon and shrimp the most frequently. Yesterday I tried a new recipe for Buffalo Style Salmon from the May 2013 issue of the Food Network Magazine.

    This recipe has 14 ingredients. It takes a total time of 35 minutes, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. I made a few changes to the original recipe. First the easiest type of salmon to find in my area (that isn't farm raised) has skin, finding skinless can be a challenge. Therefore I used skin-on salmon and a slightly thicker fillet than the recipe called for. This increased my grill time by 3-4 minutes. I always use Frank's for my hot sauce and this recipe was no exception. The recipe calls for low-fat yogurt, but I already had full fat yogurt for another recipe so that is what I used. As I have described before I use an indoor electric grill for most of my grilling and it always works well.

    I was worried that the buffalo sauce would be too spicy for my kids, but they loved it. They ate their entire servings and tried to eat some of mine. My husband and I really liked the whole dish. The salad made a great side to the salmon and the grill created a nice flavor for the fish. This would definitely be a recipe I would make again.

    For the recipe go to Buffalo Style Salmon.

    April 21, 2013

    Recipe for Sweet and Hot Baked Beans

    Click for Recipe for Sweet and Hot Baked Beans
    Sweet and Hot Baked Beans

    My family loves beans. Three times a day my husband eats some type of beans as part of his meals. He is great about eating an array of beans every week and has lost over 30 pounds due to his good eating habits. My son and I try to eat beans at lunch every day, he loves black beans with feta and could eat them every day if given the chance. Since we live in West Virginia we also eat a ton of pinto beans, we love them. Given that beans are such a large part of our weekly diet I try to come up with new recipes and bean dishes so we don't get bored. Last week I tried a new recipe from the April/May 2013 issue of Taste of Home magazine for Sweet and Hot Baked Beans.

    This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 5 hours and 20 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 12 servings. I didn't make too many changes to the original recipe. For the beans I used cannellini beans since they were the type available. I allowed the beans to cook for 6 hours on low and used sweet onions for the onions called for in the recipe.

    These beans turned out really well. They were a nice combination of sweet and spicy and made enough for three separate meals for my family of 4. My husband and I enjoyed the recipe the most since the spice from the jalapenos was a little more geared towards adults. However, my youngest decided to eat the beans over rice the next day and loved them. The only complaint I heard in my house was that my husband would have preferred if the onions were sauteed and caramelized before being added to the crock-pot.

    For the recipe go to Sweet and Hot Baked Beans.

    April 19, 2013

    Recipe for Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa

    Click for Recipe for Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa
    Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa

    With the weather getting warmer it has been project week in my house. During the spring I set aside a couple of weeks to do all the projects that I have put off for the last year. This year it is painting furniture, my dining room and re-staining a few tables. I have completed half of the things that I need to finish so that's a start. It always seems ten times harder to finish anything with a 4 and 6-year-old. My youngest loves doing his workbooks, but hates playing by himself. Plus he is in a phase where he wants to to everything with mommy. So tonight after my husband got home I painted the dining room while he worked on a painting project of his own. I have been a little behind on my posts and cooking this week since I have been busy, but I should be back to normal in another week. This week I tried a new recipe for Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa from the Food Network Canada.
    Click for recipe for pineapple salsa
    Pineapple Salsa

    This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 27 minutes of total time, 15 minutes of which is active and makes 6 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First my mother-in-law gave me a number of frozen turkey patties that had sat in my freezer for months. So instead of making the turkey burgers from scratch, I utilized the frozen patties. All the red peppers at my local grocery store where not usable, so I substituted a yellow pepper instead. I chose to include the jalapeno in the salsa, but seeded it since my kids would be enjoying some. I served regular buns for the rest of the family and gluten free for me.

    The salsa in this recipe is really delicious. It made the store bought burgers much better and was also delicious as a sweet side salad the next day. The taste of the fresh pineapple was sweet and blended nicely with the strong flavors of the onion and jalapeno.

    For the recipe go to Grilled Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa.

    April 17, 2013

    Recipe for Katmis Satsivi - Chicken with Walnut Sauce

    Click for recipe for Katmis Satsivi - Chicken with Walnut Sauce
    Katmis Satsivi - Chicken with Walnut Sauce

    There seems to be a yogurt theme in my house the last couple of weeks. My two boys just discovered Greek yogurt and love it. I have always eaten Greek yogurt for breakfast and my kids never touched it. However, recently they have fallen in love with the type of yogurt. While I prefer my plain yogurt with honey or as part of a smoothie, my two boys will eat it plain. The only problem now is keeping my yogurt from being eaten. Another food that my boys will steal off my plate is chicken. No matter how it is prepared they love it. This week I tried a new recipe for Katmis Satsivi - Chicken with Walnut Sauce from Number 155 of Saveur magazine.

    This recipe has 17 ingredients. It takes 1 hour of total time, all of which is active and make 6-8 servings. I did make a few modifications to this recipe. First when I was making the walnut sauce I found that I had to add 1 1/2 cups of stock in order for the sauce to fully liquefy in my blender. Fenugreek isn't available in my area, so I left it out of the recipe. The recipe didn't state how to serve the dish, but I chose to serve the chicken over basmati rice. As always I made my own chicken stock which I do not salt, but instead I salt the finished dish. I topped the servings with cilantro and not the chopped walnuts.

    My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe. The flavors were great and the sauce was creamy, thick and delicious. The nice thing about this dish is that it makes plenty of leftovers, more than enough for lunch the next day and an additional dinner for my family of 4. Overall, a flavorful dish that is tender and great over rice or served as is.

    For the recipe go to Chicken with Walnut Sauce.

    April 15, 2013

    Recipe for Roast Bacon Wrapped Pork

    Click for recipe for Pancetta Wrapped Pork Roast
    Pancetta Wrapped Pork Roast


    I have fallen off the healthy breakfast eating band wagon the last month or so. Normally I am great about eating breakfast, but due to a variety of reasons the last couple of months I have grabbed for sweets more often than not first thing in the morning. It has finally started to catch up with me and I have been feeling not so fabulous the last couple of weeks. Therefore I woke up this morning and started my day the right way food wise. I have felt much better the rest of the day and am going to continue the healthy eating especially in the morning. One breakfast food that my family loves is bacon. The males in my family could eat bacon three times a day and be incredibly happy. This weekend I tried a new recipe for Roast Bacon Wrapped Pork from Food and Wine magazine.

    This recipe has 7 ingredients. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active. I used pancetta instead of bacon since it goes great with pork roast. Make sure to tie off the roast or the meat will dry out during cooking. The resting time is also essential. It helps to keep all the moisture in the roast and is vital to any pork recipe.

    The flavor from the fresh herbs was great. I really love using fresh herbs since they create a lot of flavor with little effort. Plus they are very easy to grow in your garden. The roast that I bought wasn't the best. I would suggest using a high quality roast, the better quality really does make for a better tasting slice of meat. Overall, the flavor on this roast was delicious and the same herbs would work well with a tenderloin.

    For the recipe go to Roast Bacon Wrapped Pork.

    April 13, 2013

    The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep Sponsored Review

    Disclaimer: I am participating in a book review campaign with One2One Network. I received this book from Harper Collins for the purposes of reviewing it. I have not received compensation. My participation in the campaign enters me into a drawing for a gift card. All opinions stated are my own. 


    My two boys were opposite sleepers when they were tiny. The youngest would only nap for 30 minutes at a time while my oldest slept 2 1/2 hours twice a day. At night they were far from the same as well, my oldest woke up to nurse every two hours and went to the bathroom every single time he ate. He was almost three before be slept 10 hours straight. My youngest slept 6 hours at once when he was a month old and was dry through the night most nights. Needless to say I learned between my two boys that teaching kids to sleep well isn't always an easy task. I read a bunch of books, tried advice from friends and finally found the way that worked for me.

    Many of the books that I tried were not very helpful and I got tired of trying advice that didn't work. A few friends of mine had tried Harvey Karp's books and had great results. Therefore I was interested when I received the chance to review Harvey Karp's new book The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep from the One2One Network.

    "Dr. Harvey Karp made doctors applaud and parents cheer with his brilliant solutions to centuries-old problems such as colic and tantrums. Now, in THE HAPPIEST BABY GUIDE TO GREAT SLEEP: Simple Solutions for Kids from Birth to 5 Years (William Morrow Paperback; On-Sale: March 19, 2013; $15.99; ISBN: 9780062113320), Dr. Karp stuns the world again by solving the #1 problem plaguing new parents: exhaustion. Dr. Karp's surprising insights include:

    • How to train brand new babies to sleep better: Infants can be taught to sleep at least one extra hour from the first weeks of life! Dr. Karp shows how to safely boost baby sleep in just days.
    • What’s the best white noise (and which ones worsen sleep): The right white noise (low pitched and rumbling) is the key to good sleep—even through teething—for all babies. Plus, it even gives parents a more restful sleep
    • Why parents should always wake a sleeping baby: For good sleep, babies must learn how to self-soothe. The best way to teach babies how to fall back to sleep—when they rouse in the middle of the night—is to wake them just as they’re being put into bed.
    • How to enjoy the benefits - and avoid the risks - of swaddling: Swaddling dramatically improves a new baby’s sleep. Yet, many states are shockingly banning this ancient parenting tool. Smart moms should do it and Dr. Karp will teach them how to do it properly and safely.
    • The importance of powering down: Staring at bright screens at night (TVs, computers, phones) can wreak a toddler and a parent’s sleep.
    Easy "no-cry" tips that end infant and toddler bedtime struggles in just days!

    With THE HAPPIEST BABY GUIDE TO GREAT SLEEP, no longer will new parent have to suffer months of sleep deprivation and no longer will babies have to cry themselves to sleep. Backed by compelling science, common sense and decades of experience, Dr. Karp’s landmark guide will revolutionize how millions of children drift off to dreamland."

    After reading the book here is a list of my pros and cons:
    Pros:
    • Broken into age groups
    • Crib Notes at the end of every chapter. Gives review of main points of emphasis from every chapter.
    • Special situations section.
    • Questions and answers that address unique situations.

    Cons:
    • Doesn't address shared room situations (my two kids share a room and have a 2 1/2 year age difference).
    • Doesn't address small living spaces where letting a child cry isn't necessarily an option. 
    • Doesn't address situations in which noise is very loud and white noise wouldn't be an option. Having grown up on a busy street (four lanes) the noise at night were very loud. My husband couldn't sleep when we went home to visit.
    • Pre-school section is very short.
    Since receiving the book for review I have tried a number of the tips with my youngest. He seems to be going to sleep easier, which is a nice improvement.

    For more information go the following links:
      Disclaimer: I am participating in a book review campaign with One2One Network. I received this book from Harper Collins for the purposes of reviewing it. I have not received compensation. My participation in the campaign enters me into a drawing for a gift card. All opinions stated are my own.
       

      April 12, 2013

      My Guest Post - 10 Quick Dinner Tips for Busy Families

      Irish Soda Bread is a Great Way to Bake Bread in only 45 Minutes!
      Irish Soda Bread is a Great Way to Bake Bread in only 45 Minutes!


      Like all moms I am always trying to do too many things at once. The older my boys get the less time I have, so I try to stream line my food prep and dinners as much as I can. Today I am guest posting over at
      A Momless Mom

      The topic is 10 Quick Dinner Tips for Busy Families. Here is the link http://momlessmom.com/how-tos-4-dummies-guest-posts-series/5

      The Irish Soda Bread at the top of the post is one way I save time on making homemade bread. It is great with soups and stews and only takes 45 minutes! Do you have any tips to get dinner on the table? I love hearing what great ways other people have found to make cooking less stressful.

      Don't forget if you have a post you would like to share on my blog, I love guest posts!

      April 11, 2013

      Recipe for 40 Minute Hamburger Buns

      Click for Recipe for Homemade 40 Minute Hamburger Buns
      Homemade 40 Minute Hamburger Buns


       As I stated last week this week is a freezer week for my family. By eating leftovers out of the fridge once a month I am able to save money and not waste food. I tried doing it once a week with the leftovers from that weeks meals, but my two sons complained about eating the same meals twice. With a few weeks in between they forget the first time they ate the meal and happily eat the freezer leftovers. Even though most of the meals have been leftovers I have baked and cooked sides. I had a number of pounds of hamburger meat that I had ground so I made burgers with it this week. To save money I always make my own hamburger buns. I have a favorite recipe that I have used for years, but this week I ran out of town so I tried a new recipe for 40 minute hamburger buns from Taste of Home.

      This recipe has 7 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 12 servings. I eat gluten free, but the rest of my family has no problems with gluten. Luckily I have never had a reaction cooking meals for them making wheat flour, I just make sure to keep my cutting boards etc. separate. For bread I always using King Arthur Bread Flour. I really find that it makes a superior product and the texture is great. I actually ran out of bread flour at 2 cups, so for the other  1 1/2 cups I used brown rice flour. This recipe is pretty straight forward and the only major changes I made were to make 7 buns instead of 12 and increase my baking time by 5 minutes since my buns were larger.

      While my family still prefers my normal recipe for buns (which takes 6 hours with rises) this recipe was well received and I really like that it only takes 40 minutes start to finish. Making homemade buns and breads can be time consuming and this recipe is a nice way to get homemade bread on the table quickly.

      For the recipe go to 40 Minute Hamburger Buns.

      April 8, 2013

      Recipe for Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto

      Click for Recipe for Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto
      Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto and Homemade Buns





      The weather was beautiful here today. It finally feels like spring with 80 degree weather and the ability to wear shorts without freezing. The smell of BBQ has been all over my neighborhood as well. I absolutely love the smell of BBQ. There are few smells better than walking outside and smelling someone smoking ribs on a big charcoal side smoker. The weather and the rise of grilling inspired me to make burgers this week. There is something about warm weather and burgers that go hand in hand. My husband bought a huge charcoal grill about 5 years ago. However, this year it needs the rust to be sanded from sitting in our basement and my motivation has been lacking. Therefore I settled for making burgers on my indoor grill this week. Today I tried a new recipe for Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto from Bon Appetit.

      Click for Recipe for Gluten Free Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto
      Gluten Free Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto

      This recipe has 15 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 6 servings. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First I did two versions, one with homemade hamburger buns and the other with gluten free buns. I had one pound of beef that I had ground with chuck a few months back. I combined the ground beef with 3/4 pound of ground lamb. Since I was short on time I did not wilt the spinach. I often make pesto with spinach and never wilt it, I just puree it in the food processor in batches. For the burgers I ended up with a total of 8 burgers. I like to keep my burgers on the small side, especially since they were blended with ground lamb which can be rich.

      For this recipe I used heirloom tomatoes. I love heirloom tomatoes, they are great with burgers. Make sure to salt the pesto and the tomatoes. The salt really helps to bring out the flavor of the tomato and the pesto. Blending the lamb and beef gave the burgers great flavor and my family really enjoyed these burgers. There was also enough pesto leftover to use on turkey burgers later in the week.

      For the recipe go to Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto.

      April 7, 2013

      Recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

      Click for Recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms with Ramps
      Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms with Ramps

      My two boys love Brussels sprouts. At the grocery store this morning my oldest spotted Brussels sprouts on sale and got very excited. He then commenced to beg me to buy some for dinner. Of course I said yes, who doesn't love a child that begs for vegetables. Growing up my mother only knew how to make Brussels sprouts one way, boiled. While my mother was lucky in that I loved
      Brussels sprouts regardless, all my friends hated the vegetable. After getting married I tried a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts and my husband and I fell in love with the cooking method. Now I make roasted Brussels sprouts a lot in the spring and my whole family loves them. Tonight I made roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, here is the recipe.
      • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends cut off and cut in half lengthwise
      • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 8 oz button mushrooms (or the mushroom of your choice)
      • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
      • If desired you can squeeze fresh lemon juice over the roasted veggies before serving
       Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. I added 3 diced young ramps for flavor, shallots would also work (however, this isn't a necessary step). Place on a baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Toss the vegetables every 10 minutes to prevent burning. If you want a bit of extra flavor you can add cooked crumbled bacon over the vegetables before serving.

      That's it. Roasting vegetables is a great way to get kids to eat vegetables and my whole family loves it. It also works well with asparagus or green beans.

      April 5, 2013

      Recipe for Chicken Burgers with Mozzarella and Homemade Hamburger Buns


      Click for Recipe for Chicken Burgers with Mozzarella
      Chicken Burgers with Mozzarella and Homemade Hamburger Buns
      Next week is a freezer week for my household. Once a month we eat out of our freezer. Many of the meals that I make during the week make more leftovers than we can eat for lunches the next day so I freeze them for meals later in the month. I normally wait at least three weeks in between leftover meals. That way my kids have forgotten the first meal and it doesn't feel like we are always eating the same recipes. My taste buds get bored easily according to my husband. I literally make a meal once and then rarely make it every again. Without leftovers we would have very few repeat meals. I know some of my boredom with repeat meals comes from being very poor growing up and literally eating the same meal every week. My mother was a great cook, but there were only so many things that can be done with food bank items. Luckily my kids have never had to have the experience of bare shelves and if anything they have my bored taste buds. However, I also have my mother's frugal ways so we clear out our pantry and freezer once a month to ensure that food isn't wasted. Last week I had a number of packages of frozen meat to utilize. Since I had a bunch of frozen ground chicken I tried a new recipe for Chicken Burgers from the March issue of All You magazine.
      Click for Recipe for Gluten Free Chicken Burgers with Mozzarella
      Gluten Free Chicken Burgers with Mozzarella


      This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 6 servings. I only made a few modifications to this recipe. I made two versions as I normally do, one gluten free and one regular. For the regular version of the recipe I made homemade hamburger buns. My onion and pepper mixture only took 5 minutes to fully soften, any longer and they would have gotten overly browned. For the gluten free version I used gluten free bread instead of a bun. I made my own BBQ sauce since many BBQ sauces have wheat, plus homemade tastes better.

      My two boys really enjoyed these chicken burgers. I would suggest a few changes. I found that the burgers were a little greasy being cooked in the oven. Instead of cooking them in the oven I would grill them on an indoor or outdoor grill. Additionally, I would just use BBQ sauce instead of the mayo BBQ sauce combination. Finally, the cheese on the inside made the burgers too greasy, I would suggest using real mozzarella sliced on top of the burger. This would cut down on the grease and still retain the flavors.

      For the recipe go to Chicken Burgers.

      April 4, 2013

      Recipe for Georgia Grits Waffles with Peaches

      Click for Recipe for Georgia Grits Waffles with Peaches and Maple Syrup
      Georgia Grits Waffles with Peaches and Maple Syrup

      Breakfast is always a struggle with my youngest. While I am happiest with Greek yogurt and a cup of coffee he expects a big breakfast. By big I mean waffles, sausage, eggs, grits, you name it. My oldest isn't a big breakfast eater, but he is picky. There are certain breakfast foods that he loves and others he won't touch. I have gone back and forth with breakfast. When I was younger I was horrible about eating much of anything in the morning. In college I ate sugary scones and coffee and survived on little else. Luckily I outgrow this habit, but my breakfast habits didn't get much better. Slowly since my kids were born I have transformed my eating habits and I now eat healthy breakfasts 99 percent of the time. One food that my whole family can agree on is waffles. I only make them on occasion, but they are always well received. This week I tried a new recipe for Georgia Grits Waffles from the November 2012 issue of Southern Living magazine.
      Click for Recipe for Gluten Free Georgia Grits Waffles with Peaches and Maple Syrup
      Gluten Free Georgia Grits Waffles with Peaches and Maple Syrup


      This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes 50 minutes of total time, 25 minutes of which is active and makes 8 servings. I made two batches of this recipe, one gluten free and one as written. The only major change I made to the recipe was to use low-fat buttermilk and butter spread instead of butter. I made these changes based on what I already had in my fridge. For toppings I used pure maple syrup and frozen peaches. In the gluten free batch I used super fine grain brown rice flour, it would also work with sorghum or white rice flour. One word of advise about the grits. The recipe states to let them cool. Be careful since grits will turn into a solid mass, making for lumps in your waffles. I would suggest letting them cool slightly and being careful when adding the eggs. This way you don't have half cooked eggs in the batter and the grits will not be lumpy.

      My youngest really loved these waffles. He ate most of the regular recipe and then moved on to my gluten free waffles. The regular waffles came out fluffy and were great with butter. The gluten free waffles turned out slightly crispy, which was a nice with maple syrup. This would definitely be a recipe I would serve to my family again.

      For the recipe go to Georgia Grits Waffles.

      April 2, 2013

      Recipe for Pesto Pork with Polenta

      Click for recipe for Scallion-Basil Pesto with Pork Tenderloin, Spinach and Polenta
      Scallion-Basil Pesto with Pork Tenderloin, Spinach and Polenta

      I can't believe how quickly this year is already going by. My oldest is done with school next month and will be in second grade next year. There are days when I fell overwhelmed and under appreciated staying at home and then I realize how quickly my kids are growing-up and how much I love spending so much time with them as they grow. As my kids are getting older they are also beginning to eat a lot more. Since both of my kids are boys I don't even want to think about how much food they will be consuming as teenagers. Plus they are close enough in age that they will both be eating my entire refrigerator at about the same time. Keeping snacks readily available and doubling recipes has become a must in my household. One meal that is always a favorite in my house is pork. It doesn't matter how I prepare it, my two boys absolutely love it. Last week I tried a new recipe for Pesto Pork with Polenta from the April 2012 issue of the Food Network Magazine.

      This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 40 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. I only made a few changes to this recipe. First to prepare the polenta I sliced it into 1/2 inch thick slices, brushed both sides with olive oil and seared the slices on my indoor electric grill until they had nice grill marks. As I've stated many times before you really need to temp pork. The recipe is 100 percent correct about pulling out the pork at 145 degrees. While resting the pork will cook another 5 degrees. Not letting pork rest or cooking it past 145 degrees will result in tough and overcooked meat. I found that I had to add very little salt to the pesto since Worcestershire sauce is high in salt.

      I really like that this recipe is a complete meal. The polenta and spinach make great sides to the pork and the polenta ended up being the most popular part of the dish with my two sons. The pesto has a really nice flavor with an umami undertone from the Worcestershire sauce. In addition to the pork the pesto would also work nicely with fish dish due to its citrus taste.

      For the recipe go to Pesto Pork with Polenta.

      April 1, 2013

      Recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

      Click for recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
      Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

      My treadmill has sat lonely for the last month. Between strep throat and a stomach bug I was sick for almost 4 weeks. Not fun and it has thrown off my normal eating and exercising schedule. I am a creature of habit, when I don't eat well and get in my hour of treadmill everyday I get tired. Not just a little tired, but exhausted by the middle of the afternoon. When I eat a balanced diet and do my walking I feel energized and great. That's not to say I don't love an occasional treat. I have a definite sweet tooth and believe in using moderation. Since I eat gluten free I am always looking for ways I can have a treat and use gluten free flours. Last week I tried a new recipe for Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies from Allrecipes.com.

      This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 1 hour of total time, 15 minutes of which is active and makes 4 dozen cookies. I did make a few changes to the original recipe. First since I eat gluten free I substituted rice flour for the all-purpose flour. I have started buying a superfine brown rice flour that I love. It isn't gritty at all and I was able to fine a great deal on it making it affordable. Chocolate peanut butter was on sale at my local grocery store so I had a number of jars in my cupboard. I substituted the chocolate peanut butter for the regular peanut butter used in the recipe. Finally, I used an extra cup of oats since my family likes lots of oatmeal in their oatmeal cookies and I made my cookies larger than the recipe suggested. My baking time increased by a couple of minutes per batch and I ended up with a total of 2 dozen cookies.

      My husband and two boys aren't big fans of gluten free baking. However, they really liked these cookies even though they were gluten free. The combination of the chocolate peanut butter and oatmeal was delicious and I liked that they were baked unlike one of my husband's favorite recipes which is similar, but made as no-bakes. Overall, a great recipe that converted well to being made gluten free.

      For the recipe go to Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.
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