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Thrifty-tip Thursday – Left-over Oatmeal Muffins

I hate wasting food. I usually save food and we eat left-overs, as most people do. But the other morning when I made too much oatmeal for breakfast, I wasn’t sure what to do. I just couldn’t get myself to throw that much food in the garbage, but who is going to eat left-over oatmeal? Maybe we are food-snobs, but left-over oatmeal is just gross. I decided to see if there was anything appetizing to do with left-over oatmeal, and “Google-d” it. There are a lot of recipes out there using left-over oatmeal!  I modified a muffin recipe from Food.com and it was a hit.

Left-over Oatmeal Muffins

Directions:

1 cup flour (I used wheat)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal

1 cup raisins (optional – I left these out because the kids aren’t big fans)

1 tsp. vanilla

(I added 1 tsp. ground cinnamon)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

2. In another bowl, mix together melted butter, eggs, oatmeal, raisins and vanilla.

3. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened – the batter will seem thick.

4. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups (I used un-greased re-usable muffin cups — they worked wonderfully!)

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes, or until the muffin centers are slightly firm.

They didn’t look pretty, but they were tasty! And part of being thrifty is not wasting.  This was a great way to get a second breakfast out of our oatmeal.

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The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever!

I’m thoroughly enjoying my newfound counter space, and have been utilizing it to bake.  I started with homemade bread this afternoon.  Then I happened to have cream cheese that needed using, so cinnamon rolls came to mind.  I’m going a bit off-topic here today (hey, I referenced my kitchen counters), but these are all I can think about.  Now I know that cinnamon rolls are a lot of work, but these are soooooo worth it! The recipe I use is my mom’s hybrid compilation of several recipes — and it is the best!  It will forever spoil all other cinnamon rolls for you.

Mom’s Awesome Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Dough:

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1/3 cup butter, and salt just till warm (120 to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts.  Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.  Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double in size (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease 2 9X1 1/2 inch round baking pans (I use 1 rectangle 9X13 pan).  Make filling.

Filling:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 T cinnamon

Mix on medium until combined, but still crumbly (about a minute)

Roll each portion of the dough into a 12 X 8 rectangle.

Spread 1/2 filling onto each rectangle.

Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from a long side. Seal seam.

Slice each roll into 12 equal pieces and place in prepared pans. Repeat with the other dough half.

Cover and let rise in a warm place till nearly double.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and let sit a minute or two (don’t allow to cool).

Turn pan over onto a serving tray (if I’m not concerned about presentation, I use a large piece of aluminum foil so I can quickly wrap up the left-overs — this also seems to keep it warmer for transporting).

Look how gooey they are -- turning them over helps the filling that seeped to the bottom work it's way back through. Mmmmm!

Frost and serve while still warm (although still very good when cooled).

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 T softened butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 ounces cream cheese

1/8 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine in a mixing bowl until well blended. Frost cinnamon rolls.

Tips:

We all know that cinnamon rolls are best right out of the oven, but who wants to get up at early o’clock in order to make them and have them ready for breakfast (well, somebody might, but not me!). I like to prepare mine the night before, but not bake them.  I cover them loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate over-night. When I’m ready for them (at a much more reasonable hour) I uncover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, then bake.

If you want to make them extra gooey (and extra fattening — might as well, you’ve gone this far), after greasing pan(s), add a few slices of butter around the bottom and sprinkle with brown sugar. You can also add your favorite nut (walnuts, pecans) here. Place the rolls on top of this. My kids prefer just this extra goo to the cream cheese frosting. I prefer both.  If I’m going to eat a cinnamon roll, I’m going to eat a CINNAMON ROLL!

If you want to pretend to make these healthy (ha, ha) or if you just like the flavor, add raisins to your filling.

Enjoy!

Check out the Weekend Potluck here.  Lots of fun recipes, including this one.

Organizing Toys – Take 2 + Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Week three of organizing and I’m already stumped. It has been a bit of a rough week.  Someone has been sick at our house everyday this week, which has seriously impeded my organizing.  As a result, it wasn’t until today that I approached the toys armed with new storage bins, a garbage bag and a box for donations.  I filled one large garbage bag, filled a box to take to the Goodwill, and attempted to organize things into the storage bins.  I am not pleased with the result. I had a vision of something out of a magazine, and it only looks slightly neater than it did before.  So. . . take 2.  I’ll be sleeping on it tonight and hoping to come up with something brilliant in the morning.

Image by ponsulak

To cheer myself up (and my kids who caught a glimpse of the Goodwill box), I decided we needed some Friday night chocolate chip cookies.  I love chocolate chip cookies and have tried a lot of recipes.  This is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve tried.  Thought I’d share it with you in case you need it too. 🙂

Yum!

Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tblsp vanilla

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 bag (24 oz.) chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate to make it especially yummy)

*For nut lover add 2 cups chopped nuts with the chips

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs on medium.  Stir in flour, baking soda, salt.  Stir in chocolate chips.  On an ungreased cookie sheet drop dough by Tablespoons 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake 11 – 13 min.  Cool 1 -2 minutes.  Remove to cooling racks.

Here’s a helpful tip:  I only make one batch, then roll the rest into balls, place in a rubbermaid container with waxed paper in-between layers, and stick in the freezer.  That way we don’t eat more than we need in one sitting and they are all ready to go the next time we “need” a cookie night.  I also have a quick dessert ready when I’m bringing a meal to someone or have an unexpected guest.