Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Homemade All-Purpose Baking Mix

With a newborn, very little sneep, three other kids to take care of, and dishes/laundry piling up, I didn't have the time or money for a box of Bisquick, so I looked up recipes online for homemade all-purpose baking mixes. I found a few that I combined together and tweaked to create my own. The mixture I came up with was light and tasty, and the kids LOVED the pancakes and biscuits I made with it. Here is the basic mix along with the directions for making simple pancakes, waffles, biscuits and dumplings.

Basic All-Purpose Baking Mix
(can be used in recipes that call for Bisquick or all-purpose baking mix)

6 cups all-purpose flour (use wheat flour if desired)
3 Tablespoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
3/4 cup coconut oil, butter, or shortening
(for a buttermilk baking mix, add 9 Tablespoons dry buttermilk powder to the basic mix)

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut coconut oil, butter or shortening into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles cornmeal. Store in heavy duty ziplock plastic bag or airtight container. I store my mix in the fridge to keep the oil from going rancid.

2 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Mix and ladle onto hot greased griddle. Flip when tops are bubbly. Cook until golden brown.

2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose baking mix
2/3 cup milk
Mix and knead a little on lightly floured surface. Roll out and cut into biscuits. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes until golden.

2 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 & 1/3 cups milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons oil
Mix until blended. Pour onto hot greased waffle iron. Cook for 4-5 minutes until steaming stops.

2 cups all-purpose baking mix
2/3 cup milk
Mix just until soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling water/liquid. Cover and cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.

Monday, March 9, 2015

BEAST CHARMING by Jenniffer Wardell


Beast Charming tells the story of Beauty, who works as a temp at an agency run by a high-tempered dragon. To avoid running into her conniving and desperately-craving-for-nobility father—conveniently named Noble—she takes on a peculiar job that will force her to converse with a violent beast named, well, Beast. The rest of the story develops into a hysterical tale of a classic fairy tale romance gone modernly awry.

Find BEAST CHARMING, available March 17, 2015, here:
Barnes and Noble

Jenniffer Wardell is the arts, entertainment, and lifestyle reporter for the Davis Clipper. She is also the author of Fairy Godmothers, Inc. and has won several awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Find Jenniffer Wardell here:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HOBBIT HIDEAWAYS for your own yard!

I happened upon this site ( after seeing a picture on Pinterest. SO FUN! I love hobbit holes, especially ones you can have in your own backyard.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scrambled French Toast (a fun twist on classic French toast)

My mother calls it “scrambled eggs and bread,” I call it either “scrambled French Toast” or “French toast bites,” but whatever the name, this fun twist on French toast is a favorite in my family. The bread is broken up before mixing it with the egg, making an easy and fun dish to eat after it’s cooked. My mom always tore the bread into pieces. I prefer to cut it with a knife. Either way works. The egg to bread ratio is ONE egg per ONE slice of toast. Use as many or as few pairings for your family size.

Basic recipe that feeds my three kids ages 3-9:
4 eggs, beaten
4 slices of bread (any kind)
Pinch salt
Dash pepper
Sprinkle of cinnamon (if desired)
Toppings of choice: Syrup, powdered sugar, jam, etc.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper (and cinnamon if desired). Stack bread slices on cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares with large knife. Add bread squares to beaten egg and mix until all pieces are evenly coated with egg. Pour into medium or large frying pan coated with a little oil or cooking spray. Pan fry on medium heat, occasionally stirring and flipping bread with spatula until browned on all sides. Transfer to serving plates and eat as is or top with your favorite French toast garnishments. ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

APPLE CRUMB PIE recipe from Kraft

This is the yummy apple pie I brought to my in-law's Christmas Eve dinner! Mmm-mm! Turned out great, and everyone complimented on how good it was *smile*.


2 lb.  Granny Smith apples, peeled, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. MINUTE Tapioca
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 refrigerated or homemade pie crust (1/2 of 14.1-oz. pkg.)

HEAT oven to 400°F.

TOSS apples with granulated sugar, tapioca and spices in large bowl. Let stand 15 min. Mix flour and brown sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.

LINE 9-inch pie plate with crust as directed on package for one-crust pie. Fill with fruit mixture; top with crumb mixture.

BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly. Cool.

Can prepare using Cortland, Baldwin, Jonathon or Rome Beauty apples

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This Christmas, be more kind, not more commercial

I feel, like many others, that every Christmas season, the world floats farther and farther away from remembering our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. After all, the word CHRISTMAS literally means "Christ's Day", the day He was born. Giving gifts at Christmas is a beautiful tradition, if given with love and thought, but this practice has lost it's meaning in the increasing commercialism of the world, the drive for stores to make money, and the perception that we must give everyone (especially our kids) everything on their "wish" list, even when our budgets may not allow it. We are afraid that if our kids don't get "enough" presents, they'll think it wasn't a good Christmas. But therein lies the fallacy. We have programmed ourselves, and those around us, to think that Christmas is about Santa, toys, lots of presents, and candy (which are fun, but are practiced with an overabundance that's often more damaging than we realize).

We need to get back to the simple and humble realization that it's a birthday party for the Lord. And what should we do for His birthday? Well, what do we do for anyone else's birthday: We give gifts, just as the wise men gave the Christ-child so long ago. So what kind of gifts can we give to Jesus Christ? His own words teach us that in serving OTHERS, we serve Him. We can give material things for sure, if they are truly needed and not overdone, but more importantly, we can give love, understanding, kindness, patience, attention, respect, and our TIME. May we reevaluate our holiday practices and improve them where needed (myself included), so that when Christmas time comes around, we may remember that it is about Christ's birth and the way He taught us to live and serve others that brings the true meaning of the season. 

Here are the wonderful and wise words of Dr. Seuss, from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," one of my favorite books:
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!" And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!"

Here are some short videos that stress a more meaningful holiday season (They are great videos to show your children the night before, or the day of, Christmas, to help keep the spirit of it :)
The Nativity (7:52)

I hope this holiday season brings you true happiness and joy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

THE LAST GOODBYE - Tribute to LOTR and THE HOBBIT coming to a close

"The Last Goodbye," a beautiful song sung by actor Billy Boyd (who played "Pippin" in The Lord of the Rings trilogy), is a tribute to all the Tolkien films by director Peter Jackson as they come to a close. What a journey for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and for all those who were in the films or contributed in some way to make them the awesome movies they are. Have a listen and watch the cool video on Peter Jackson's official Facebook site or on Youtube. I love it! Below are the links.

Peter Jackson's Facebook:


Monday, November 10, 2014

Really Good Recipe: Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps

Photo Credit:

1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter (1½ sticks)
¾ cup molasses
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl cream together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and whisk to combine. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, 1 cup at a time. When flour mixture is completely incorporated and dough comes together, cover dough and chill 10 minutes. Place ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll about two tablespoons of dough into a ball and roll in sugar. Place dough ball onto a lightly greased baking sheet and lightly press to flatten slightly. Repeat with remaining dough, leaving about 2 inches between balls for spreading. Bake 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Use a thin metal spatula to remove cookies from chest and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in airtight container.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Halloween Haunted Hollow

We finally had a large enough parcel of land to have fun with a haunted hollow this Halloween. Thanks to the local thrift store, dollar store, donated items from family members, and my husband bringing home free cardboard and styrofoam from work, we were able to create things for our spook alley rather cheaply. Using every bit of rope we owned, he made a pathway that wound through our property, resulting in a good 15 minute walk complete with jack-o-lanterns, creepy lighting, spooky sounds on giant speakers borrowed from his brother, scarecrows, witch cauldron with dry ice, fortune teller booth (with fortune cookies), a headless horseman, werewolf, fake spider webs, a giant spider made of plastic bags, a pacman scene, and gravestones with witty quotes and names on them (some we made up, others we found online). Here are some pictures of our hollow. They were taken during the day, so they don't look very spooky, but at night with all the lighting and sounds, they turned out great. It was successful enough that we may attempt to do it again next year. AANNDD, not wanting anyone to feel left out for not knowing about it, I need to explain that this being the first year we did it, we used only four families as Guinea pigs to try it out. Next year we'll tell more people about it.

The styrofoam gravestones were knocked down by the windy afternoon at the time I took the pictures, but the evening was great after we set them up again. 

I originally put "Here lies the Pillsbury Dough Boy - Died of a yeast infection," but my husband prefered "He will rise again." I still like mine better *smile*