Posted in Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food

Puff Pastry Cups with Cherry Crumble

Cleaning out my freezer proved to be a positive experience this morning. In the far left corner of my freezer compartment, I found a box of puff pastry cups that I had purchased several weeks ago and completely forgot about them (as they slowly made their way to the back of the freezer). I’m sure many can relate to this. As we pack our freezers and pantries with new items, other items are slowly shuffled “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m thrilled that I was able to quickly assemble this easy recipe for a Sunday dessert. Use any fruit flavored filling for this delicious treat.

Puff Pastry Shells with Cherry Crumble

1 package (6) Puff Pastry Cups, prepared according to package directions

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling or your favorite flavor

Puff Pastry Cups with Cherry Crumble

Cool pastry shells on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove center tops. Do not turn off oven. Keep temperature at 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over pie filling within each pastry. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the crumb mixture is golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Remove from oven and let the pastries cool for 10 minutes. Return tops to the pastry. Sprinkle with powder sugar when completely cooled, if desired.

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Posted in Cooking In Disney World, Uncategorized

Cooking in Disney World

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The often unpredictable price of eating out while on vacation can be quite costly. My advice to friends is always the same when choosing a hotel for a family vacation; choose one that offers, at the very least, an efficiency kitchen to cook basic meals for the family while enjoying time away. Sure, it sounds great to spend a week away from the daily grind of preparing meals and cleaning up the kitchen, but a week’s worth of family meals eaten out can be mighty costly. And its always disappointing to find that when my family is ready to eat, the chosen restaurant has a line out the door that seems to be a mile long. Once inside and finally seated, the food never seems to measure up for the cost put out. Don’t get me wrong, we have our favorite restaurants in Disney World and we always make reservations at ‘Ohana, in the Polynesian Resort and the Hollywood Brown Derby. We absolutely wouldn’t miss the Polynesian inspired foods served throughout ‘Ohana’s Dinner Show and the incredible combination of flavors carefully mixed together in the Cobb Salad served at the Brown Derby. But, my oh my, things certainly add up quickly. I remember a time when it was common practice to have a soup or salad accompany a main dish or a basket of bread was given before the meal. Nowadays, everything seems to come with an added cost.
This week, our family spent our spring break vacation in Disney World. We are Disney Vacation Club Members and have ownership in Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Purchasing this property over twenty years ago certainly has been a great vacation savings for us. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how I manage the food budget while on vacation. While we have a few favorite restaurants that we always visit while in Disney, for the most part, we really try to commit to eating “in” for the majority of our meals throughout the week. The vacation home that we stay in comes equipped with a sizable kitchen so I can prepare anything from the basic peanut-butter and jelly sandwich to a delicious pork roast dinner for the family. As mentioned earlier, finding a hotel room or suite with a small efficiency kitchen can really save money in the long run. You may have to pay a little more for the room up front but the food savings can be incredible for a family.
Here are some of the basic meals that I usually prepare when traveling with the family. They’re often prepared with convenience mixes or prepackaged ingredients but they fit the bill for a week away from home on a budget.

On day one, I usually buy groceries for the week. (I also bring from home lots of commonly used dry spices.)

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Some of our favorite vacation meals include…

Spaghetti with meat sauce, crescent rolls and Caesar salad,

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Cheeseburgers with crispy pickles and chips,

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Tacos with homemade salsa and guacamole,

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And finally, pork roast with corn and mashed potatoes,

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It’s a great idea to look at the online weekly sale flyer for the local grocery store where you intend to shop. This way, you can plan ahead to shop for deals. This week, as I grabbed my shopping cart and sale flyer at the front of the store, I noticed pork roast and ground beef were on sale for a great price. I picked up both for separate meals. The ground beef was used for the tacos, spaghetti, and hamburgers. The pork roast was used for the pork roast dinner and pulled pork sandwiches. (I shredded the left over pork and slathered it with barbecue sauce, then topped the extra hamburger buns with the tender shredded meat.)

Now, a vacation wouldn’t be a vacation without some sweet treats…

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J and I will be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary tomorrow so I made a Mickey cake for our after dinner dessert.

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Some of the other food items purchased for the week include:
Old Fashioned Oatmeal
Greek Yogurt
Breakfast Cereal
Milk
Orange juice
Fruit
Peanut Butter
Bread
Jelly

For Dinners, I purchased:
Ground Beef
Pasta
Ragu- Chunky Garden Style Sauce
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Taco Shells
Taco Seasoning Packets
Tomatoes
Onions
Shredded Cheese
Cilantro
Lime juice
Avocados
Pork Roast
Barbecue Sauce
Instant Potatoes
Frozen Corn
Romaine Lettuce
Caesar Salad Dressing
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Hamburger Buns
Pickles
Doritos
Chocolate Cake Mix
Ice Cream
Chocolate Frosting Mix

I paid a little over $150.00 for a week’s worth of food and was really able to stretch my food dollars.
Each of these basic meals can be prepared quickly with very little effort. Convenience mixes and prepackaged food items help to cut down on time spent in the kitchen. Paper plates and disposable tableware can certainly save time on clean up. Thankfully, our vacation kitchen is well equipped with a set of dishes, a full fridge and a dish washer.

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I’ve been cooking in Disney World for years and these meal ideas have been long standing family favorites. My crew seems to enjoy staying away from crowded restaurants and having a few home cooked meals while enjoying our time with Mickey Mouse in the bright Florida sunshine.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

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So, tomorrow my oldest will be leaving for college…I am surely going to miss her smiling face on a daily basis. It will be hard for me to let her go….
I have spent a good part of the morning baking goodies to pack in containers and load into boxes. Cooling on the counter top, there is a loaf of Irish soda bread, a tray of granola bars, and some Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe below).
I will wait for them to cool completely and then arrange them in containers for the long drive down to Purdue University. My hope is to continue to send her “care packages” on a weekly basis so that she knows that we miss her and that she is in our thoughts…sending a little “home-baked love” her way as she begins her journey through college life on campus. We love you, K!

Chocolatey Oat and Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Extra oats for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter, oats, and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll dough into 1 inch balls (or scoop out dough with a small ice cream scoop) and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press down with slightly damp fingers. Lightly sprinkle with extra oats.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Desserts, Food, Kids in the Kitchen, No-Bake

Bananas and Berries Frozen Graham Bars

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As some of you might know, I am a coupon girl! I never leave the house without a fist full of carefully selected coupons when I am headed to the grocery store. I have the “SnipSnap” App on my phone so I can get a deal nearly everywhere I go. Well, last week there was a sale on graham crackers and I had coupons to reduce the price to 75 cents per box. I bought 6 boxes. We were headed out of town for a week and I thought they would be a great car snack to pack for the trip. When I arrived home with my groceries, M spied a cool recipe on the back of one of the graham cracker boxes and she asked if she could make the recipe for dessert. She said that it was a no-bake recipe. I was delighted because it was too hot to turn on the oven to compete with the air conditioner.
The next day, I headed to work and M made the frozen graham cracker recipe. We have an agreement that while Dad and I aren’t home, no ovens or blenders are to be used without permission. The original recipe called for pulsing the fruit in the blender. Instead, M chopped the fruit and added it to the yogurt mixture. When I arrived home from work, I was thrilled to see her creation and ohhhh, they were so yummy and refreshing. They were gone in no time at all!
Below, I have listed our adapted recipe but have included the website for the original recipe as well.

Bananas and Berries Frozen Graham Bars

10-1/2 cinnamon topped graham crackers, broken into quarters to make 42 rectangles
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup bananas, mashed
1/4 cup blueberries, sliced
1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Line a 9-inch square pan with waxed paper, placed so paper extends over the sides of the pan . Arrange half the graham cracker pieces, in 3 rows on bottom of pan.
In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. Add the yogurt and whipped topping; mix well. Spread fruit and yogurt mixture over graham cracker pieces. Top with remaining graham crackers aligning to match the graham cracker pieces on bottom layer.
Place in the freezer for 4 hours. Use waxed paper handles to remove dessert from pan; cut between graham crackers to form bars.

Original website:
http://www.snackworks.com/recipe/banana-berry-frozen-yogurt-bars-155123.aspx