Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spinach Potato Soup with Tomato & Basil

As long as we have soup ingredients, I say let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!

Here's a warm delicious soup inspired by our recent snow day.  Using leftovers and items from my pantry, I came up with this creamy nutritious soup recipe.  We ate it alone for a light lunch, but it would also go great with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Once again, it turned out to be a great dish to share with Peanut - after eating some of her own lunch, we gave her some soup to try and she ended up eating a whole little bowl full of it!

Spinach Potato Soup with Tomato & Basil
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 c. leftover garlic mashed potatoes
- 1 carton chicken stock (4 cups)
- 3 c. packed baby spinach (I only had about 1.5 - 2 c., but I think it could use more)
- 2 T. basil (paste, dried, or fresh)
- 1 t. Italian spice mix
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Post: Meyer Family Coffee Cake

Family traditions are a big part of what Making Mama's Kitchen is all about.  Think about your own family traditions - many of them probably involve food, right?  Priceless, perfect dishes made by Mama (or maybe Daddy/Grandma/etc.), enjoyed with family, and loved by all.  Well that's exactly what this guest post by my BFF, Shawna, is all about.  I am so honored and excited to have her write this post about the Meyer family's special coffee cake recipe.  Here's how Remy's mama (and her mama before her) makes it:

A little background on this yummy treat! This recipe came from my paternal grandmother (Marty) who introduced it to my mother (Connie) many years ago. Ever since she got her hands on it, it has been part of our Meyer Family Christmas tradition! Since my mother passed away it is a little way for us to carry on her influence every year. No matter where we are, I know that my sisters and dad are enjoying this delicious breakfast treat Christmas morning too.

 Like most of Mama's Recipes it is easy yet delicious!

-1 bag frozen yeast dough rolls (24 rolls for the recipe)
-1 package of vanilla cook-and-serve pudding mix (NOT INSTANT)
-1/2 cup brown sugar (we like dark brown)
-1/2 cup crushed pecans
-1 stick of butter/margarine (melted)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Dinner: Pan Seared Filet with Burgundy Mushrooms and Spinach Arugula Salad

This year, the star of our Christmas dinner was undoubtedly these beautiful pan seared filets with these burgundy mushrooms.  Now, I didn't do a step-by-step post of the mushrooms because they are from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook and also on her blog - so that post already exists!  (And is done by a true professional, might I add!)  Be sure to check out the link, though, because they are truly divine.  As for the rest of our meal, I decided to make filets by searing them on the stove, then finishing in the oven.  Although they got a little more done that I'd intended by the time I let them rest and got Annalyn's dinner started, they were oh so tender and delicious.  But I learned something about making steak in a way other than grilling, and decided it was worth sharing with all of you.  I rounded out the meal with these garlic mashed potatoes and a quick spinach arugula salad.   Here's how Mama makes it:

Pan Seared Filet with Burgundy Mushrooms
Ingredients: (for the steaks)
- 2 (6 to 8 oz.) filets, cut about 1.5" thick
- course ground salt and black pepper
- 1 T. butter or olive oil
(for the mushrooms - I halved the original recipe)
- 2 lbs. white button mushrooms, washed
- 1 stick butter
- 3/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 c. Burgundy (or other red) wine
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 1 c. boiling water
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1/2 t. dill seed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 t. salt, if desired

(for the salad)
- 2 c. baby spinach
- 2 c. arugula
- 1/4 red onion, sliced
- handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- feta cheese, about 1/4 c.
- 1/4 c. each red wine vinegar and olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cookies for Santa: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I got home from work on Christmas Eve, I realized we were missing one important thing - cookies for Santa!  So I did what any mama would do -  whipped out my Santa apron, Betty Crocker cookbook,  and mixed up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

- 2/3 c. sugar
- 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1/2 c. shortening
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 c. old-fashioned oats
- 1 c. flour
- 1 c. mini chocolate chips (can substitute raisins, chopped nuts, or semisweet chocolate chips, if desired)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Annalyn's First Christmas

Twas the Night Before Annalyn's First Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the night,
Not a creature was stirring and no Grinch in sight.

Homemade stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
And the smell of Christmas cookies danced through air.


Countdown to Christmas: Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Tomorrow is Christmas!  It's practically here!  Here is a recipe so yummy that we made it for our Christmas dinner with my family this year.   It's super easy to throw together in a slow cooker and makes a big batch.  If I'm not making it for a group, I usually freeze half of the meat.   Here's how Mama makes it:

Italian Beef Sandwiches

I apologize, I forgot to take a picture of the end result
we got caught up in the holiday celebration - as we should!
here's a cute baby pic instead :)
- 5 lb. rump roast (or two that are about 5 lbs. together)
- 1 can beef broth
- 1 cup beer (any kind)
- 1 package zesty Italian seasoning mix
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon each:  basil, black pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, oregano
- sandwich buns, optional

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peanut Post: Transition to Table Foods

Lately Annalyn has decided that she's ready for finger foods.  Teeth or no teeth, this little lady is eager to feed herself!

We've been experimenting with different foods, like shredded cheese, cooked carrots, and small cooked pastas and she's been doing great.

The past few weeks, we've gotten braver and started giving her actual table food (aka whatever we're eating) cut up in to pea-sized pieces.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Turtle Pretzels

Here's a fun and easy holiday treat to add to your arsenal!  Perfect for cookie exchanges or your holiday dessert table.  I made these for my family Christmas and for the Christmas party I hosted for Michael's coworkers - everyone agreed, they are fabulous!  Hope you enjoy this simple and delicious holiday treat.

Turtle Pretzels

- 2 bags Rolo candies
- 1 bag round pretzels
- 1 large bag pecan halves
(1 Rolo + 1 Pretzel + 1 Pecan Halve = 1 Treat)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peanut Post: Annalyn's First Christmas (Part 1)

This past weekend we celebrated Annalyn's (first) first Christmas with my family. Honestly, I couldn't have imagined it being any more perfect. I finally got to host Christmas, complete with all my holiday dishes and decorations. We decided to do a simple dinner of chicken chili and Italian beef since the girls (except Peanut) were all going to the Yuletide Celebration at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the boys (+ Peanut!) were watching the Butler vs. IU basketball game (Go Dawgs!). It was effortless, delicious, and saved room for the main event - Christmas cookies/treats!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Gift Ideas for the Kitchen

One week 'til Christmas!  It's Christmas shopping crunch time! 
Depending on who you are shopping for, kitchen gifts are some of the best.  I say that cautiously because there are always those people who don't want something they need for Christmas, but rather something they want, and unlike this mama, kitchen gadgets don't always top that list.  Personally, I love getting kitchen items as gifts because I think about that person every time I use it.  My mixer reminds me of my parents and graduating from pharmacy school... my favorite salad tongs - Dan & Shawna and their trip to Costa Rica... my what-did-I-ever-do-without-this tiny egg beater - my mother-in-law and her awesome stocking stuffers... my pink silicone pancake turner - my lil sis... my new favorite blue dutch oven - my dear husband.  I could go on forever!  If you have a sentimental cook in your life, here are some great gift ideas for his/her kitchen.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Every. Single. Day.

I hear no voice, I feel no touch,
I see no glory bright;
But yet I know that God is near,
In darkness as in light.

He watches ever by my side,
And hears my whispered prayer:
The Father for His little child
Both night and day doth care.

- "Child's Evening Prayer," Author Unknown

Pray for your children, but also for those children and families affected by Friday's tragedy.  Remember that even in the darkest of times, God is near and watching over our babies.  Just as we watch our babies sleep and feel the rise and fall of their chests, God watches over them and breathes breath through their lips.  As often as we ask for His help in raising and protecting our children, we should also remember to thank Him for the gift of life every day and every night.

This was not the post meant for these pictures, but I felt compelled to acknowledge the suffering of our nation before continuing my posts on this light-hearted time of year.   For one night, please don't get caught up in the details or your political views, just pray for these innocent, hurting families and the children they love.  Then tell and show your children how much they are loved, by you and by God. 

Every. Single. Day.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Robin's No-Chop Chicken Chili

Even if you don't make this now, do yourself a favor and keep it in the back of your mind.  This chili is mild but flavorful, super easy - NO CHOPPING AT ALL!! - and always a big hit with any crowd, from kids to adults.  This southwest style chicken chili uses jarred salsa for the onions, peppers, and tomatoes and is made with simple ingredients that are easy to keep on hand.  It's perfect for pitch-ins, meals to take new parents, holidays, game days, Tuesdays... you get the point. 

Courtesy of my dear friend and neighbor, here's
Robin's No-Chop Chicken Chili

- 3 c. shredded chicken
- 1 large jar of chunky salsa
- 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 can kidney or pinto beans, drained & rinsed
- 2 cans corn, drained
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 t. cumin
- 2 to 3 T. chili powder

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Restaurant Style Pineapple Salsa

The basis for this recipe is this recipe by The Pioneer Woman (she's been at the top of my list of inspiration lately - please tell me you've watched her new show on Food Network.  She's absolutely amazing, so genuine, and her recipes are perfect, aside from needing the occasional makeover since we don't all work on cattle ranches and burn lots of calories each day!).  We made the original recipe a couple weeks ago and LOVED it, so we decided to try to make a pineapple version.  We really liked the result (although I think fresh pineapple would've given a stronger pineapple taste...).  Feel free to substitute mango, raspberry, peach, etc. to make any number of fresh fruit salsas.  Now, go whip up a big batch before the Butler vs. IU game this afternoon!  Go Dawgs!!

 Restaurant Style Pineapple Salsa
yes, those are quart-sized jars...
this recipe makes a half gallon of salsa!

- 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes
- 2 cans (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 clove minced garlic (about a teaspoonful)
- 1 whole jalapeno, quartered and sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1/2 whole lime juice
- 1 large can crushed pineapple (or about 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: A Nativity Set for Peanut


Earlier this week, Annalyn got a special package in the mail from her Grandma & Grandpa Eddie.  It was her very own nativity set.  This Little People Nativity Set is so sweet, complete with a light-up star and "Away in a Manger."  What a fun and special gift!  I'm sure she will enjoy it for years (hopefully in place of playing with Mama's Willow Tree Nativity Set, which is also an ongoing collection from the Eddies).

With just 11 days until Christmas, I wanted to share this adorable set as an idea for the little people in your life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Great Grandma Hanke's Sloppy Joes

Here's a super easy, delicious recipe that was originally my Great Grandma's.   I love this recipe because it's so simple and can be made in a slow cooker or on the stove.  It's perfect for busy weeknights or days filled with Christmas baking!  We also like it for big family get-togethers (but be sure to at least double this recipe).  The sauce is flavorful but mild, which makes it perfect for kids from 1 to 92 (coincidently, that's about how old Peanut & her Great-Great Grandma are!).

Great Grandma Hanke's Sloppy Joes


- 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
- 1/2 onion
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1 T. flour
- 1 cup ketchup
- buns

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Mama's Favorite Baby Items

With Christmas just days away, here are some of my favorite pregnancy/baby items you may want to add to your Christmas list.  These have helped make our last year sooo much better/easier/more fun... you get the picture! 
Mama's favorite gift :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Chicken Pot Pie Makeover

This is my makeover version of the Lady & Sons chicken pot pie.  When we went to Savannah a couple years ago, I got to go to Paula Deen's restaurant and try her chicken pot pie.  As I always hoped and expected, it was amazing.  Lucky for me, the recipe can be found online here.  I finally decided to try to make it, so I typed it into Weight Watchers to see how many points per serving it would be (honestly, I knew it wouldn't be good, but I was curious).  Any guesses? 

Mine wasn't even close to the whopping 43 points per serving that it came out to be when I typed it into the recipe builder on WW.  After seeing that number, there was no way I could bring myself to make it (disclaimer:  I fully intend to order it again if/when I get to go back to Savannah... You've seen those quotes on Pinterest like "Christmas calories don't count"... well neither do Paula's in my book.  But mine do!).  So cue the montage music, because here comes the makeover!

Lady & Sons Chicken Pot Pie Makeover

- 5 sheets fillo dough (no, this is not the same as puff pastry, but it's lower in calories and gives a similar effect)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups leftover cooked chicken
- 2 T. olive oil (for cooking the chicken, if already cooked, omit)
- 4 T. yogurt butter (or margarine)
- 2/3 c. flour
- 3 cups fat free evaporated milk
- 1/2 c. chicken stock
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
- 1 c. frozen peas, cooked
- 1 c. chopped cooked carrots
- pinch fresh nutmeg, optional
- salt and pepper, to taste
- it wasn't part of the original recipe, but I'd recommend adding 1/2 t. each of paprika and thyme.  The flavor of the original recipe relies greatly on the richness of the butter and cream.  By substituting healthier options, you lose some of this, so I added these spices to perk it back up.

** My makeover version is only 11 points per serving and makes 6 servings (the original claimed it to be only 4 servings, but very large servings).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Gift Idea - Custom Jewelry by Bicursal Designs

How beautiful and unique is this necklace?!  Recently I found out that one of my coworkers makes gorgeous custom jewelry.  He and his girlfriend are the artists behind Bicursal Designs, a line of hand-carved natural wood, stone, and sterling silver jewelry.  Of course, I was curious.  When I realized that they make everything custom order, I had to check it out!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Christmas Card Letter

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

This year, in an effort to save paper, ink, time, etc., I’ve decided to put our Christmas card yearly update letter online.  (Plus, I can add more pictures!)  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our little family’s big year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Peanut Post: Vegetable Beef Stew Puree

Here's a recipe packed full of nutrients and flavor for my growing girl.  It looks and smells so good that Michael was disappointed when he realized it was for Annalyn's dinner, not his.  I guess I'll have to make it again soon for Daddy!  As written below, it made 4 ice cube trays (plus a little for taste-testing!), or 48 oz.

Vegetable Beef Stew Puree

- 1 T. olive oil
- 3/4 lb. beef for stew
- 1 small onion (or half medium), finely chopped
- 1/2 c. carrots, chopped or shredded
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 medium potatoes (or sweet potatoes), peeled and diced
- 1 c. baby spinach, tough stems removed
**optional:  Add small pasta (such as stars or alphabets) and shredded cheese just before serving.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Countdown to Christmas: Mom's Rice Pudding

Here is a recipe that is near and dear to my heart - my mom's rice pudding.   My mom and her mother before her would often make this recipe on cold winter nights as an after dinner treat and we'd eat leftovers for breakfast the next day.  This is truly comfort food at its best.  It was a bit of a challenge to actually write down ingredients and directions since it's one of those recipes I've learned by watching Mom, and she learned by watching her mom, and Grandma doesn't measure - not anything - not ever!  But this time, I took notes and paid close attention to what I was doing so I could share it with you.  I hope you enjoy this family favorite as much as we do!

Grinch pajama party to kick off the Christmas season!

Mom's Rice Pudding

Ingredients: (for a whole family, double this recipe)
- 1 c. white rice
- 2 c. water
- 3 T. butter
- 1/2 c. sugar (more or less, to taste)
- 1 c. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
- cinnamon, to taste

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Here's an oldie but goodie courtesy of my favorite Betty Crocker cookbook.  This simple, delicious, and belly-warming soup is an Eddie family favorite on cool winter days.  It's by far my favorite thing to do with leftover ham (and the ham bone!), but I'll also make it with diced ham as I did this week.  Split peas are so high in fiber and protein, while low in fat, making this a hearty, healthy meal.  Pair it with corn bread or serve alone.  I even let Peanut try some, and she loved it (of course, it's green!).  I usually make it on the stove, but this time I tried it in the slow cooker.

Split Pea Soup

- 1 lb. bag split peas, rinsed
- 8 cups liquid or 7 if using slow cooker (Betty recommends water, but I like to replace at least half the water with chicken stock)
- 1 c. chopped carrots
- 1 c. chopped celery
- 1 c. chopped onion
- 1 ham bone or about 1 c. of diced ham
- salt and pepper, to taste

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dried Beef & Pickle Dip

This is a dip version of one of my favorite snacks - pickles coated in cream cheese, wrapped in dried beef, then cut into slices.  Honestly, I never would have thought to make it like this, but my mom called me from Nebraska one time just to tell me about this amazing dip that my cousin, Jill, had made.  Thank you, Jill, for re-imagining this one for us - it's so much better this way!  I lightened it up a bit by using reduced-fat and fat free options of cream cheese and sour cream (or greek yogurt, if you have on hand).   We decided it was the perfect dip to make to celebrate the Huskers being in the Big Ten Championship, so I doubled the recipe below.
Go Big Red!!!

Dried Beef & Pickle Dip

- 3 oz. dried beef
- 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/2 c. fat-free or reduced fat sour cream (or greek yogurt)
- 3 T. chopped green onions
- 1 c. chopped dill pickles (not relish)
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 1/4 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. dill weed

Makes 8 servings, 3 WW pts each.  **Serving suggestions:  small rye bread, crackers, etc.  Adding 8 Triscuits per serving = 7 WW pts per serving.  The dill flavored Triscuits are especially delicious with this one!