Banana Crumb Muffins

We always have bananas around and when they get too ripe, I'm looking for a fun recipe to use them in. I found this recipe for banana crumb muffins and just changed it up bit. I love chocolate chips in anything that has to do with bananas. I also added some cinnamon and nutmeg. Super easy to make and they go great with any breakfast or just eat as a snack.

Banana Crumb Muffins

Adapted from allrecipes

1 1/2 all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

4. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

5. Bake in preheated over for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Funfetti Cookies

This is such a fun cookie to make with your kids. It's almost like a sugar cookie but with a twist. It's made with a cake mix. It's so easy you can have these made within only a few minutes.

This is what they look like right out of the oven. Then just grab your favorite frosting and sprinkles and frost away.

Funfetti Cookies

1 package Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 eggs
1 container of your favorite frosting or make your own. (For this I used Pillsbury Funfetti frosting and added a few drops of your choice of food coloring)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, and eggs. Stir with spoon. (I did it in my Kitchen Aid). Shape into 1" balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet. With the bottom of a glass or your hand, flatten out until 1/4" thick. Bake 6-8 minutes. Frost when cooled.

Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

I needed a yummy treat to take to an event I was going to so I whipped up some chocolate cupcakes (chocolate, because who doesn't love anything chocolate). I was feeling a little adventurous so instead of using the normal store bought container of frosting, I thumbed through a recipe book to find the perfect frosting. Not only did it taste really yummy but I love the smooth, shiny look of it.
Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup marshmallow creme
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Sift the sugar and cocoa powder together into a large mixing bowl. Set the bowl aside.

2. Place the marshmallow creme, butter, and milk in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until the butter and marshmallow creme have melted, 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the sugar-cocoa mixture over the marshmallow mixture. Add the vanilla and stir until the frosting is smooth and satiny.

3. Use to frost the cake or cupcakes of your choice.

* A little goes a long way when frosting the cupcakes. The frosting spreads out, that's why it hangs over the edges of the cupcakes. I really liked the effect it gave.

Frosted Banana Bars

I've wanted to try these for a while and when I noticed that the bananas on the counter were a little more than ripe I pulled out this recipe. One of my favorite combinations is bananas with chocolate so of course I had to throw a few mini chips in as well as on top. These bars are really moist and almost have that melt in your mouth effect. Yummy!

Frosted Banana Bars
(adapted from Taste of Home)

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt
mini chocolate chips (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended. Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

For frosting: in a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Frost bars when cooled.
Yield 3 dozen

Recycled Crayons

Ever wonder what to do with those old crayons that continue to sit in the crayon container? I found some silicone letter ice trays on and thought why not? The hardest part of this project is peeling the paper off the crayons. This is where the kids come in handy. 

1. Peel and break crayons to fit into each letter. Most of them needed two crayons to fill them up.
2. Set the silicone letter trays on a cookie sheet.
3. Place in oven at 275 degrees for about 10 minutes or until melted. 
4. Let cool. 
5. Very carefully push the crayons out of the molds.

This is what they look like afterwards. Have fun coloring.

Other ideas to use these trays for are ice cubes, molds for chocolates, gifts for your preschoolers friends. You could even make the crayons in the molds then wrap up the crayons with a great coloring book.

If you don't have letter trays you can always use a muffin tin and do the same thing to make chunky crayons. You can even mix the colors if you want. I saw this idea on Make and Takes.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Who doesn't love a good peanut butter cookie. This recipe has an extra bonus by adding Reese's Peaunt Butter Cups instead of chocolate chips. Yummy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour (can use wheat flour)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8-9 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (or chocolate chips)

In large bowl, beat brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg on medium speed until creamy. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in peanut butter cups.

Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll balls into granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Yields about: 2 dozen

*Hint: Freeze the peanut butter cups before chopping, it makes this part easier.

Mini Cheesy Meat Loaves

Mini Cheesy Meat Loaves

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup milk (1/4 cup water + 3/4 Tablespoon Dry Powdered Milk)
3 Tablespoon chopped onion (2 teaspoons Dehydrated onion)

1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients very well. Shape into 4 mini loaves, packing together very tight. Place in greased, shallow baking dish. Cover with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

I usually double this recipe to feed my family of 6 and also make extra sauce to go over it.
You could also instead of using mini loaf pans use regular sized bread pans.

Chicken Pillows

This has become one of my kids favorite meals, and it's pretty easy to make too. This meal goes great with a green salad full of yummy veggies.

Chicken Pillows

3-4 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
6 oz of cream cheese, softened
2 -4 tablespoons green onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 cans of crescent rolls (I used the new 
crescent creations)
Bread crumbs
1 stick melted butter

In large bowl, mix together cream cheese, green onion, 
2 Tbsp butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir in chicken and set aside. Open crescent rolls and carefully unroll dough. Cut each tube into 4 rectangles.  Place one heaping tablespoon (or more) on half of each rectangle. Fold over other half of roll dough and seal edges, creating a pillow. Dip each pillow in melted butter and then bread crumbs. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with cream sauce.

Cream sauce:
1 can cream of chicken of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon mayo
Milk-few tablespoons

Combine ingredients in sauce pan and cook over medium heat until heated through.

*Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

Recipe Substitutions

I found this on iPrepared and thought it would be a great thing to pass on. You could place a copy of it in your recipe book or tape it to the inside of a cupboard to refer to often.
This is a great list of ingredient substitutions (which can add versatility and flexibility to your three-month supply). Some have multiple suggested substitutions -- they are numbered.

Cooking Substitutions:

Baking Powder (1 t.)
1) 1 t. baking soda plus 1/2 t. cream of tartar.
2) 1/4 t. baking soda plus 1/2 t. cream of tartar.
3) 1/4 t. baking soda plus 1/2 c. buttermilk (to replace 1/2 c. liquid in recipe).

Butter or Margarine (1 cup)
1) 1 1/2 c. margarine or butter powder.
2) 2/3 c. vegetable oil.
3) 1 c. shortening plus 1/2 t. salt
4) 2 sticks softened margarine plus 1/3 c. vegetable oil & 1/2 c. buttermilk. Beat until liquid is absorbed. Refrigerate.

1) 1 T. vinegar (or 1 t. lemon juice or 1 3/4 t. cream of tartar) mixed in 1 c. milk.
2) 1 c. water, 1/3 c. powdered milk, 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice.
3) 1 3/4 c. dry milk in 3 c. slightly warm water (shake or beat until blended). Cover an allow to stand at room temperature until clabbered (6 - 12 hours). Refrigerate.
4) 1 c. water, 1/3 c. powdered milk, 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice. Let mixture stand in a warm place until thickened (18 hours). Stir until smooth. Refrigerate.
5) A buttermilk freeze dried culture can be purchased at a grocery or health food store, and kept indefinitely.

Chocolate (one square)
1) 3 or 4 T. cocoa plus 1/2 T. fat (butter, margarine or shortening).
2) 3 T. cocoa plus 1 T. butter.

Corn Starch (1 T.)
2 T. flour.

Cream (1 cup)
1/3 c. butter plus 2/3 c. milk.

1) Combine 1 t. unflavored gelatin with 3 T. cold water and 2 T. plus 1 t. boiling water.
2) Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy
3) 2 egg yolks plus 1 T. water.
4) 2 T. dehydrated eggs plus 2 1/2 T. water.

Evaporated Milk
1 c. water, 2/3 c. powdered milk

Applesauce (subtract some sugar), or Beans (cooked and mashed).

Flour, White (1 cup)
1) 3/4 c. whole wheat flour.
2) 7/8 c. rice flour.
3) 1 c. corn flour.
4) 1 c. corn meal.
5) 3/4 c. buckwheat.
6) 1/2 c. barley flour.
7) 3/4 c. rye flour.

Green Pepper (1 medium)
1/4 c. dehydrated green pepper.

Half and Half (1 cup)
1) 7/8 c. milk plus 1 T. butter.
2) 1/2 c. coffee creamer and 1/2 c. milk.

Honey (1 c.)
3/4 c. sugar plus 1/4 c. liquid.

Jello (3 oz.)
1 T. plain gelatin plus 2 c. fruit juice.

Ketchup (1/2 c.)
1/2 c. tomato sauce, 2 T. sugar, 1 T. vinegar, 1/8 t. ground cloves.

Milk, Whole (1 cup)
1) 1/2 c. evaporated milk plus 1/2 c. water.
2) 1 c. reconstituted milk plus 2 T. butter.
3) 1 c. water, 1/3 c. powdered milk

Onion (1 medium)
1/4 c. dehydrated onion

Sour Cream (1 cup)
1) 1 c. milk plus 1 1/2 T. vinegar. Let stand until mixture thickens and clabbers.
2) 1 c. plain yogurt.

Sugar (1 cup)
1) 3/4 c. honey (reduce liquid by 1/4 c. or add 1/4 c. flour).
2) 1 c. molasses.
3) 1 1/2 c. carob syrup.
4) 1 1/4 c. malt syrup.
5) Corn syrup (reduce liquid). 6) Brown sugar.

Sugar, Brown
Sugar & Molasses.

Sugar, Powdered (1 cup)
1 c. sugar and 1/2 t. cornstarch. Blend in blender until powdered.

Sweetened Condensed Milk
1) 1 1/2 c. powdered milk, 3/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. hot tap water. Place hot water in blender. With blender going, add sugar and dry milk, blend until smooth.
2) 1 c. hot water, 4 c. powdered milk, 2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. butter. Blend in blender. Can be refrigerated or frozen.
3) 1/2 c. hot water, 1 c. powdered milk, 1 c. sugar. Blend in blender. Can be refrigerated or frozen.

Tapioca (2 t.)
1 T. flour.

Tomatoes, Canned (1 cup)
1 1/3 cups cut up fresh tomatoes, simmered 10 minutes.

Tomato Juice (1 c.)
1/2 c. tomato sauce, 1/2 c. water

Whipped Topping
1) 6 T. powdered milk, 1 c. boiling water, 2 t. unflavored gelatin, 2 T. cold water, 2-4 T. sugar, 1 t. vanilla. Dissolve the milk in the cup of water and scald (boil until milk forms a skin on top). Soak the gelatin in cold water. Combine the scalded milk, dissolved gelatin and sugar. Stir and chill in the refrigerator until it jells. Then beat the mixture until it acquires the consistency of whipped cream. Add the vanilla and whip again.
2) 1 c. water, 2/3 c. powdered milk. Chill. Add 1/2 t. lemon juice. Whip. Fold in 1 T. sugar to taste.

1) Use apple or grape juice minus some sugar.
2) Use broth and lessen the salt.

Yeast (1 package)
1 T. yeast.

Lion House Rolls

It's just a given at our house that rolls or breadsticks will be served with any kind of soup we eat. I love any form of bread and could eat it all day, so I'm always trying out new recipes. I found this one for rolls and Yummy! They were really easy to make and didn't take all day either. They went well with the chicken noodle soup (recipe below).
Lion House Dinner Rolls

2 tablespoons active-dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk (food storage item-yeah)
5 - 6 cups flour

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast and water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add sugar, shortening, salt, dry milk, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add remaining flour gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. *Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and satiny. Return dough to an oiled bowl and cover to let rise until doubled.

Separate dough into three portions. Roll out each portion into a circle and cut into 8 pie shaped pieces. Roll up crescent style and place on baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

*I used my Bosch mixer for this recipe. What a great invention! Also, this recipe says it makes about 5 dozen, but I made mine a little larger and got about 3 dozen.