Tag Archives: recipes

Swan Cookies!

So I found this recipe for swan cookies and I was intrigued by how simple it looked to make the swan shapes!  But the recipe was very vague and included some European ingredients I didn’t feel like hunting down, so here is our version.


Refrigerated pie crust

A couple raisins (or brown sprinkles)

1 egg plus a little water


Unroll the pie crust and cut out circles with a glass or cookie cutter.  Fold the circles in half, then refer to the original recipe for where to cut and how to shape into a swan.  Just three little cuts, curl the neck, and spread the wings a little!

Cut up raisins into little bits and place as an eye on each.

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Mix the egg with a little water and brush over the cookies.  Sprinkle sugar all over each.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until golden!

I had a pretty cute little helper, and little mister not-taking-a-morning-nap entertained with toys in his high chair for a bit!

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They came out pretty good!  But then I also really like pie crust (even better raw – but I couldn’t swipe much in front of the kiddos.  I’m such a weirdo)

The boys liked them (only a little bit for Elliot, and Leland would eat them all day if I let him – I’m using “save some to show and give to Daddy” to keep him from eating more after his nap!).

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P.S this is a great shot of Elliot’s coming-in-out-of-order teeth and amber necklace!


What we’ve been eating . . .

Some new recipes I’ve tried:

Butternut Squash sauce (on tortellini and spaghetti) – I combined the roasting method from Martha Stewart’s recipe here (including roasted whole garlic cloves along with it) and the rest of the ingredients/method from Lauren’s Latest here  (decreasing the amount of time cooking the squash in the broth because it’s already roasted, and I made sure to super slow caramelize my onions).  Sooo yummy but unfortunately Leland is sensitive to it – more leftovers for me I guess!

Cranberry Bliss Bars – here at Taste of Home.  Can they just admit they copied them from Starbucks?  They are so good!  I used ground ginger instead of cinnamon in the blondies, and skipped the orange zest in the frosting.  I think I upped the powdered sugar in the frosting, too, but I was just dumping what was left in the bag I had.

Creamy Chicken Chili – here on Passionate Penny Pincher.  I replaced the can of Ro-Tel with a can of chopped green chilies because Leland is allergic to tomotoes.  I skipped the Ranch seasoning and added dried cilantro and garlic.  I also added a cup or two of chicken stock.  I can’t imagine how thick this would be without it!  Big hit with all of us!  I might decrease the amount of corn next time, and maybe drain the can of corn – the corn overpowered a bit. I might also try white beans instead of black just for aesthetics.

Cheesy Ham, Broccoli, and Rice – here at Buns in my oven – I don’t think I really changed anything with this one!  I pretty much usually put my own spin on things.  Hubby is not really a fan of this one but I think it’s delicious and easy so I keep making it.

For Elliot:  my little baby is starting to eat!  He turned 6 months on Sunday and has so far enjoyed gnawing on half bananas, long pieces of roasted squash, steamed baby carrots, and Baby Mum-Mums. We use the baby-led weaning method so we give him whole foods to explore at his own pace, starting with stick shapes that are easiest to hold and of course soft things. There has been some significant gagging but that is part of the process of learning to eat.  He seems to really be enjoying it!  Next up to try is steamed broccoli and apple slices.  So much fun and so much mess!

Gentle Parenting

I think I’ve figured out why gentle parenting is making so much sense. At least why respect for our children as persons is becoming clearer and more important to me. 

The other day I dropped one of Leland’s pieces of egg on the floor and he was somewhat upset (reasonably).  And I started thinking about how I would not want someone to yell at me for dropping something or making a mess when it was accident, so why would I yell at a small person when they do so? I apologized to Leland for dropping his egg and talked about how we could clean it up.  

The tricky part is when they are willfully making a mess or doing something wrong.  But maybe still, his goal is not to make a mess.  Maybe he is really interested in how water flows out of his bottle or how cantaloupe tastes in macaroni and cheese (apparently pretty good because he still ate it). Brian teases me for harping on Leland putting things in his drink (for some reason I cannot tolerate that behavior!) but maybe he is learning about spatial relationships and what will fit. Most messes we can clean up.

And then there are the times they look you in the face and knowingly do exactly what they are not supposed to!

I have struggled to reconcile gentle parenting with how to deal with our children as the little sinners that they are. Sometimes that little sin nature is just so apparent!  Is it possible to deal with sin gently? Christian gentle parenting seems to be a minority.  Maybe it is about balancing knowing they are sinners but remembering they are a soul – a soul I can help nurture.

Eggplant dinner!

We were given a beautiful eggplant from one of Brian’s coworkers but I was stumped . . . all I wanted was good old Eggplant Parm but Leland is allergic to tomatoes (and spinach, and blue food dye).  After poo-pooing all of a lovely friend’s ideas, my sister-in-law mentioned goat cheese so I got thinking and googling . . . and found this recipe for Fusilli with Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese.  I substituted gemelli for fusilli, and sunflower seeds for the pine nuts ($3 for 9oz vs. $9 for 4oz – eek!).  I also tweaked the directions and order of steps a little to fit in baby-holding, baby-feeding, and toddler-managing. And to clean up chicken stock off the baby.

I also added a cup or so of chicken stock because it was in the fridge and I thought it would beef (chicken?) up the flavor a little (I think it did).  I also added more lemon juice than called for because it could use more.

So the chicken stock was in a carton, and it turns out it was not closed, I discovered when I shook it and it flew all over me, my kitchen, and the baby on the playmat.  He was not pleased!  But the playmat is machine washable!  

Some yummy ingredients 


Roasted eggplant


And the (not very pretty) result!


The toddler was not a fan, but he tried it.  I added a spoonful more of goat cheese to my dish after serving.  Brian thought it was okay, and also enjoyed it with more goat cheese.   I liked it!  

Look out, I might start thinking I am a food blogger or something!

Maple Bacon Upside Down Cake



Yes I went there.  I followed this recipe for the topping and technique, but I didn’t want to use a cake mix so I used this cake recipe instead. This resulted in the use of 3 sticks of butter, one tub of sour cream, 3 cups of sugar (white and brown), and, you know – bacon.

Some ingredients (this is my favorite kind of bacon):



Cooking pecans in bacon grease, then with maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla:


The topping and melted butter:



Mixing up the sour cream cake:


Ready to go in the oven!

DSC04215Out of the oven, with a toddler in the background eating grapes




Top with bacon and scrape the rest of the topping out of the pan . . .whoops . . .



Look at this amazingness!


Oh my yummies . . . 



Shout outs to my parents for some of the supplies and the use of their kitchen, my Mom for taking it out of the oven and scraping the topping, and Brian for holding the bowl while I poured the batter since I had a baby wrapped up on me!

If I did it again I would try putting the bacon in with the gooey topping so it would be more mixed in, but I think the recipe had the directions this way so the bacon didn’t get overcooked.  

It’s so good and completely decadent!

Easy Cake to Make with a Toddler

Seriously the easiest, possibly even qualifies as a “dump cake” except I think you have to mix it in a bowl first.

Turns out L didn’t like the finished product but he loves to help cook!

  • 1 box angel food cake mix
  • 1 can lemon pie filling
  • couple handfuls shredded coconut

Mix it all together but do not over mix. Big greased rectangle pan. Sprinkle some more coconut on top if you feel fancy.  350 for 20-30 minutes or until browned and set.

When I get better at blogging I will remember to take pictures of things like this.