©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



Chicken and Dumplings - Updated

I made this for dinner tonight and it was soooo good!

1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbs olive oil
3 or 4 large russet potatoes peeled and diced
3 large carrots peeled and diced
1 large sweet onion
3 ribs of celery
3 bay leaf, fresh or dried
kosher salt and black pepper
2 or 3 tsp poultry seasoning
4 tbs flour
2 boxes of Kitchen Basic chicken stock
1 box of Jiffy biscuit mix
1/2 cup of warm water
2 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped
1 small bag of frozen peas

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and put aside.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add oil, butter, veggies and bay leaf and cook -10 minutes stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add flour to the pot and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Add chicken and stir.  Let boil for 10 - 15 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Mix the biscuit mix with water and parsley. Drop tablespoonful (or medium cookie scoop) of mix into the pot spacing the dumplings evenly. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings for about 10 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes.

Remove pot from heat and serve in shallow bowls.


September 8th Lunch

Boar's head Oven Gold Turkey, cheddar and spinach on a whole wheat wrap.

Fruit: watermelon

Veggies: carrots, red and yellow peppers with Rand dressing

Snacks: Oreo Yo Crunch, S'mores Grahamfuls and sour Cream and Onion Chex Mix

Capri Sun to drink


September 3rd Lunch

Spinach Wrap with Spinach, Colby Jack Cheese and Roast Beef

Fruit:  Watermelon

Veggies:  Mini Cucumber slices, Carrots and Ranch Dressing

Snacks:  Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Treat, Pretzels and M&M Yo Crunch Yogurt

Strawberry Kiwi Capri Sun


September 2nd Lunch

Small Croissant with Roast Beef, Colby Jack Cheese and Romaine Lettuce

Fruit Side:  Watermelon Chunks

Veggie Sides:  Snap Peas and mini Cucumber Slices

Snacks:  Iced Oatmeal Clif Kid Z Bar, Oreo Yo Crunch and Cheddar Popped Chex Mix

Orange Capri Sun to drink


Burger Cupcakes

Another one of Miss V's friends Mom asked if I could make her son some Burger Cupcakes.  I peeked around and put a couple ideas together.

I used two yellow cake mixes for the "buns" and 3 boxes of Betty Crocker Brownies (9x13) size.  I used a round cutter the size of the cupcake and got 15 "burgers" out of each pan.  I made up some of my favorite Butter Cream frosting and divided it into three bowls and tinted them yellow for mustard, red for ketchup and green for lettuce.  If I had more time I could have made fondant cheese and lettuce.  Darn...maybe next time.

Tip:  Cut the cupcakes in half first.  Then with a pastry brush dipped in water, gently wipe over the top half of the cupcake and sprinkle on sesame seeds.  Put aside to dry and assemble your burgers and use a frilly tooth pick to hold them together.

They came out so cute!!!


August 29th Lunch

Whole Wheat Wrap with Roast Beef and Colby Jack Cheese

Fruit Side:  Apple Slices

Veggie Sides:  Red Ants on a Log

Snacks:  Colby Jack Cheese Stick, Oreo Yo Crunch Yogurt and Popped Chocolate Rice Cake

Fruit Punch Capri Sun to drink


August 28th Lunch

Half a Cuban Sandwich from Publix

Fruit Sides:  Apple Slices and Cantaloupe

Veggie Sides:  Mini Cucumber slices and carrots

Snacks:  M&M Yo Crunch Yogurt and Sweet & Salty Popped Chex Mix

Fruit Punch Capri Sun to Drink


August 27th Lunch

Bagged Salad mix with extra peppers, carrots, mini cucumber slices, Roast Beef and Ham

Fruit Sides: Apple Slices, Strawberries and Nutella

Snacks:  Chocolate Chip Z Bar and Pretzels (that she also dips into Nutella)

Orange Capri Sun


August 26th Lunch

Flat Out Wrap with Salad Mix, Ham and Colby Jack Cheese.

Fruit Sides:  Pineapple chunks and Strawberries

Veggie Sides:  Cucumbers and Snap Peas with Ranch Dressing

Snacks:  Chips Deluxe Grips, Sweet & Salty Popped Chex Mix and Chocolate Chip Z Bar

Lemonade Capri Sun to drink.

Today I added an extra snack since we were heading to the library to work on homework.


August 25th Lunch

Bagged Salad mix, extra carrots, snap peas, cucumbers, honey ham, tomatoes, Colby Jack cheese, sliced almonds and Craisins with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Fruit: cantaloupe and red grapes.

Snacks: pretzels and lemon cookie Zbar

Orange Capri Sun to drink


August 22nd Lunch

Spinach Wrap with Roast Beef and Colby Jack Cheese

Fruit sides:  Apple Slices and Cantaloupe

Veggie sides: Cucumber Slices and Snap Peas with Ranch Dressing

Snacks:  Fiber One Brownie and White Cheddar Popped Chex Mix

Lemonade Capri Sun to drink


August 21st Lunch

Spinach Wrap with Turkey and Colby Jack Cheese

Fruit Sides:  Strawberries and Cantaloupe

Veggie Side:  Sliced Yellow and Red Mini Peppers, Carrots and a couple grape tomatoes with Ranch Dressing

Snacks:  Fiber One Brownie, Cheddar Cheese Stick, Sweet & Salty Popped Chex Mix

Lemonade Capri Sun to drink


August 20th Lunch

Spinach wrap with turkey, Colby jack cheese, and salad mix.

Fruit Sides: Apple slices, strawberries and Nutella.

Veggie Sides: sliced cucumber and snap peas with Ranch Dressing.

Snacks: peanut butter crackers and a peanut butter chocolate Clif Kids bar.

Orange Capri Sun to drink.


August 19th Lunch

Today's lunch is a Spinach Wrap with Salad Mix, Roast Beef and Colby Jack Cheese.

Red Pepper Slices, Snap Peas, Strawberries, and Red Grapes.

Snacks:  Pretzels, Key Lime Pudding and an Iced Oatmeal Cookie Clif Kid Bar

Capri Sun


First day of school lunch

Salad Mix from a bag and I added in shredded carrots, yellow pepper strips, cucumbers and grape tomatoes.

Deli Turkey, cheddar cheese cubes and Ranch Dressing

Iced Oatmeal Cookie Clif Kids Bar, Cheese stick, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Sweet & Salty Popped Chex Mix and Capri Sun.

The only thing left after lunch was the Chex Mix and Z Bar which she ate on the way home from school.


Camo/Duck Dynasty Cupcakes

I made another big batch of Camouflage Cupcakes for Miss V's friend's birthday.  Since his "theme" was Duck Dynasty I went in search of some cool toppers.  I didn't want typical plastic rings.  I found these really cool Cupcake Toppers on Etsy.

These came out cute and tasty!


Duck Dynasty Cupcake Toppers

One of Miss V's friends has a birthday coming up and his mom asked if I could make Camouflage Cupcakes again for him.  Sure!  She told me his theme is Duck Dynasty, so I went searching for cupcake toppers.  I didn't want the cheesy plastic rings.  I found a shop on Etsy called Printable Parties to Go that had the topper and wrapper.  I bought them right away.

I printed them this weekend and then started thinking of what to put on the back of the topper.  I usually use thick scrapbook paper.  So Miss V and I found some camo paper at Hobby Lobby.  Sometimes it is a pain to keep the papers together until dry so I started thinking again.  I thought maybe camo duck tape or contact paper.

Yesterday we all went to Walmart and picked up a roll of Real Tree Easy Liner.  While looking at it I started thinking it might be a bit to busy, so I picked up a roll of taupe too.

This morning I decided to make a sample of each.

Well I am liking the camo more than I expected.  What do you think?????


Back to school shopping

I also have been thinking that this school year, I am going back to blogging what Miss V has for lunch. I had a follower comment a while back that they didn't really want to see all sorts of school lunch posts and that kind of made me upset. Comments on blogs are personal whether they are positive or negative. As much as I love Pinterest, I have noticed now since everyone uses it, I get way fewer comments. I know that when I try a recipe from Pinterest and it is good I do try and leave a comment for the blogger. School starts in a couple weeks so I will be posting regularly again.

Back to school shopping has begun.  Miss V starts back next week and while at Walmart last week I saw the Rubbermaid LunchBlox on sale.  So I picked up the Salad Kit and Sandwich Kit.  The main reason I wanted to try them, is the Blue Ice pack.  I like how the components snap onto the ice pack.  One of Miss V's complaints has been that the ice packs that we currently use sometimes gets to close to her crackers or chips and they feel soggy by lunch time.  At her school the kids have to bring lunch all 5 days as we don't have a kitchen that serves food.  In a couple weeks, usually after Labor Day, Pizza Friday starts.  You can choose to order pizza for the whole school year and I am really hoping that it comes from Marcos again.

And speaking of Pinterest, what is up with all those OVER THE TOP lunch ideas.  Do people actually do that everyday for their kids?  I can see once in a while, but wow....

I think Miss V and I need to talk a bit this week about what she wants in her lunches next week.  The first week of school sometime is hard just getting back into the routine.  We are working on getting her back into a routine this week by going to bed early and using her alarm to wake up at 6:30.  Next week she will be getting up at 5:30.  I know she isn't looking forward to that part.  She is looking forward to seeing some of her friends that she hasn't seen all summer.

When do your kids start back to school and how often do you have to pack lunches?  I would love to hear your comments.


Florean Fortescue Chocolate Fudge Brownie Sundae

Continuing with the Potterhead weekend we had leftovers on Sunday night and had a different Sundae for dessert.

Chocolate Ice Cream
Fudge Brownie
Chocolate Syrup

Place a piece of warmed brownie in a sundae glass.  Add 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream and top with chocolate syrup.  Eat before the ice cream melts.

Of course these were yummy, you can't go wrong with warm gooey brownies and chocolate ice cream.


Florean Fortescue Lemon Meringue Pie Sundae

As part of our Potterhead weekend dessert, Miss V first chose Pumpkin Pasties.  We didn't have that much time, so I asked her to find something that can be made a little quicker.

She went right to the Ice Cream Sundae page and chose Lemon Meringue Pie Sundaes.  Besides being out of whole chickens, Walmart was also out of Lemon curd and Meringue Cookies.  So we went to Publix across the street and picked up a jar of Lemon Curd and the cookies.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Lemon Curd,
Meringue Cookies

Place 1 scoop of  Vanilla Ice Cream in a sundae glass.  Add 2 tablespoons of store bought lemon curd and sprinkle broken meringue cookies one top.  Repeat the layering once.

We all enjoyed these very much.  It was different and refreshing.  Miss V wasn't sure of the lemon curd at first, but liked it when the ice cream melted a bit.

Herby Roast Chicken with Onion Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Since it was Potterhead weekend on ABC Family, Miss V picked out a yummy recipe from her Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

For the Chicken

1 medium onion
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 3-pound chicken
2 Tbsp softened butter or margarine
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup water

For the potatoes
2 1/2 lbs (about 6) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil (subbed unsalted butter melted)
1 cup chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lay the onion slices and garlic cloves in a baking dish. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Mix the butter or margarine with the thyme, sage and parsley and spread it under the skin of the breasts and thighs; you will need to loosen the skin first by lifting up the flap of skin and sliding your fingers under it. Lay the chicken in the pan, breast-side up, on top of the onions and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the pan.

Bake for 50 minutes. Rotate the pan, raise the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170 degrees.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the mashed potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet and add the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat.

Drain the potatoes. Add the onion-garlic mixture, 1/2 cup oil (subbed unsalted butter), chicken broth, and salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher.

Now....unfortunately when we went out shopping at Walmart after lunch, they did not have a single whole chicken.  So....we picked up a rotisserie chicken.  Next time I go grocery shopping I will pick up a whole chicken so that Miss V can try the herby chicken.  She was very disappointed.

The potatoes were pretty good!  I think next time we will make them with russets though.  I like a really starchy potato for mashed potatoes.


Patriotic Cake

Miss V loves Pinterest and we signed up to bring a dessert for our Church's July 4th picnic she started searching for the perfect thing to make.

She spotted this cake called Red, White and Blue Velvet.

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (she used Americolor Super Red)
2 tablespoons blue food coloring (she used Americolor Navy blue)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8" cake pans and line them with parchment.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large mixing bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides several times.

Divide the batter in half and gently fold the red food coloring into half, and the blue into the other half. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30 - 32 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cakes with a toothpick to make sure they baked through. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until light and smooth.

I also made Miss V a batch of marshmallow fondant and colored half super red and the other half navy blue.  She rolled it and cut out stars in different sizes.

Miss V asked if I could frost it for her as she doesn't to do that.  After she decorated the cake with the fondant stars, foil picks that look like fireworks, and two little mini pinwheels, she had me pipe little stars at the bottom of the cake.

Miss V was very happy with the way her cake came out and I think she did a fantastic job!  I am very happy to say that her whole cake was eaten and we didn't have a crumb left over.

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