Friday, July 30, 2010

Easy Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Stir water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and the salt. Stir in the flour until well blended. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Pat dough into pan or on to a pizza stone using fingers dipped in olive oil. If desired sprinkle basil, thyme or other seasonings on crust. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven.

This is a very good, quick simple pizza crust. We topped ours with Italian Seasoning & Garlic Powder & the crust was delicious. I actually wish I would have made some bread sticks out of time :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today's lunch was full of circles.  Sorry for the lack of presentation, I had 2 hungry toddlers waiting not-so-patiently for mommy to 'take a picture.'

They've got sliced cucumber, bananas, cheese & crackers with cut turkey dogs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped peanuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
Cream together shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and coconut.
Add sifted ingredients and mix well. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix thoroughly.
Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8--12 minutes until golden brown.
I used 1/2 cup of flour (all I had...oops!) and 1 1/2 cups wheat flour, only a little over 1/2 cup of brown sugar (all I had left as well), left out the coconut all together and used pecans (I only had 1/4 cup) instead of peanuts. At 8 minutes, I flattened the cookies down with a fork and it seemed to help them cook through a little better.
The hubby was not a fan (he's not a fan of oatmeal in cookies) but the boys and I liked them. They are a bit on the crumbly/dry side, but I found them just about perfect with a cup of coffee. They are more of a breakfast than a dessert cookie in my opinion.

Dino Eggs

Today's lunch was another quick one...we seem to be barely making it home in time for lunch lately :)

Sliced plumbs
Grilled cheese (cut with the DynoBytes Sandwich Crust Cutter)
and some 'dino eggs' (yogurt raisins)

Taco Turkey Wraps

 Adapted from

2/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese or Cheddar cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli turkey breast

In a bowl, combine the sour cream and taco seasoning. Spread over tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with turkey, lettuce & tomato; roll up. Serve with salsa if desired.

Pictured with jalapeno cheddar wrap tortilla.  
Can be sliced into pinwheels as appetizers or for a buffet/potluck.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Muffin Tin: Tuesday Edition

We got invited to play with some friends yesterday, so we had our muffin tin lunch on Tuesday instead of Monday...and we loved it :)

Top Row

Bottom Row

If you'd like to see more muffin tin meals, you can click on over to the home of Muffin Tin Monday to check them out!
Muffin Tin Mom

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Soft Pretzels

Adapted from

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
Spray butter & 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping (optional)

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope (pretzels in photo above were rolled to about 15-inches before get a more 'pretzel' look, you'll probably need to roll them to 20 inches or so) and twist into a pretzel shape.

Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a dish towel or paper towels to remove some of the moisture from the bottom. Place pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet (optional: spray each pretzel with a couple squirts of spray butter). Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.

Once baked, pretzels can be frozen and reheated in the oven as needed.

These are simply AMAZING!!
We decided to make them cinnamon/sugar pretzels by dunking each in melted butter and topping with fresh ground cinnamon and sugar after baking. Everyone asked for more :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Double Mileage Meal: Boiled Chicken

For our first Double Mileage Meal, we'll do something as simple as boil chicken :)
You'll need:
6-8 frozen chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
2 cups cheese, divided
1 can diced green chilis
4 flour tortillas, soft taco size torn into strips
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

In a large pot, boil 6-8 chicken breast (thawed, not frozen). Place them in a medium saucepan and cover them with water. Bring them to the boil over a high heat then turn the heat down. Simmer the chicken breasts for eight to ten minutes then drain them. After eight minutes, remove one chicken breast and make a slit in it. If it is pink, it needs to cook longer. If it is white, it is done. Allow it to cool a bit, then cube all the chicken

Now you're ready to quickly assemble, cook and enjoy both

Double Mileage Meals Intro

We all have those days where it feels like we're running on empty. I try my best to prepare for those each and every week. As I make my meal plan, I try to always include what I like to call Double Mileage Meals...meals where I can prep double of one item to be used in multiple meals. It's not leftovers, it's 2 totally different complete meals. So, for all you busy moms longing to make the most of your time, I add this segment (you can also find them under the label "Double Mileage Meals' to the left).

Smile :)

This is a super quick lunch that I threw together earlier this week...
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich (sealed with the Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal) topped with a star shaped cheese slice. The happy face is made of 2 chocolate chip eyes, a yogurt raisin nose and dried cranberry smile.
  • Small cup of yogurt raising (by request)
  • Orange Bell Pepper & Ranch

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Love This Blog...

Grab Our Button!!

If you scroll down, on the side bar to your right, you'll see this cute little button

Below it, is the html code needed to add it to your own blog and share the love of Feed My Monkeys.  Once you add us to your blog, post a comment below so everyone can check it out!

Thanks for your support!

First Finger Foods...

My local Mothers's of Multiples Club had a question come up recently about ideas for first finger foods. While, I am past that stage now, I thought it would be a good compilation for at least a few readers of this blog. Here are the responses...please comment with your own additions.

  • bananas or avocado coated in crushed cheerios or wheat germ for easier handling
  • cheerios
  • diced fruit
  • Baby puffs
  • toasted bread and bagels
  • spiral pasta
  • cooked veggies
  • cheese
  • Pirates Booty
  • lunch meats
  • black beans cut in half
  • Baby Mum Mums
  • tofu
  • sweet potato fries
  • waffles


This was actually Sunday's lunch:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Up, Up & Away!

Today's lunch is the first I am really proud of :)

We've got an airplane between 2 layers of clouds
On the top, 1/2 a small orange makes the sun with some mini marshmallows & banana slice clouds
Then, on the bottom, Pirates Booty clouds with a grilled cheese airplane (cut with the plane from the Wilton 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set) and a stand alone cheese star complete the lunch

The boys loved it & ate it up...maybe because we ran late at the grocery store and they were starving, or maybe because it was adorable.  I'm going to choose to believe the 2nd!

(I've shared this post with you can see more lunch ideas on their blog)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Muffin Tin: Orange You Glad

Top Row
  • orange bell pepper
  • ranch
  • carrot sticks
Bottom Row

If you'd like to see more muffin tin meals, you can click on over to the home of Muffin Tin Monday to check them out!
Muffin Tin Mom

Sunday, July 18, 2010

English Toffee Oatmeal Crisps

From Elizabeth Kenney

1 cup of butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 8 oz. pkg of HEATH Toffee Bits
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet or use the silicon mats for baking
2. Beat butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; beat until blended. Stir in oats, toffee bits, and coconut, if desired, with spoon.
3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about two inches apart onto prepared sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or more; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


So, I've been trying my hand at consistent, somewhat creative lunches this entire week.  I took daily photos and everyday when I had time to upload them, some form of embarrassment or insecurity came over me, so I just didn't.  It just so happened that a dear friend of mine placed a post on her blog about the very thing I was dealing with.  The title was 'Inspired or Overwhelmed?'  In the post she laid out her feelings in regards to blogs similar to this (blogs intended to inspire ideas and creativity) and the way that as an observer, it's so easy to take yourself from being inspired to feeling like what you're doing is not good enough in any given aspect of life.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to add the creative lunch element to this blog after being inspired by others and really thinking I could easily do the same thing.  However, once I began, I started to second guess myself, my meals, my creativity, etc.  As I snapped pictures and thought of placing them up for the world to see, I began to question what I was feeding my kids.  This may be a good thing (as in motivating me to add more healthy choices) and it may just be my insecurities of having the world judge what is on the plate and in the tummies of my 2 year olds.  

I began to wonder if it was ok that my kids eat the same basic food repeatedly and if I should continue to give in when they continually request the same item day in and day out.  And, I began to question the level of 'professionalism' in the photos...were the plates clean of water spots and when I slid the bananas into place they left smudges...can I really post it? I began to feel insecure that what I had to present was not perfect.

Not perfect...that's really what it comes down to.  I started this recipe blog originally for all of us moms who are not perfect.  I snapped photos of food I had made sitting on paper plates rather than perfectly staged with the right background and perfect lighting.  So, I have decided that is what I am going to continue to do.  This blog is all about not being perfect. 

There are days when my pantry is lacking vegetable options...and that's ok!  There are days where we run late at the grocery store and get home an hour past lunch time as I scrounge to make a meal in record time for 2 hungry toddlers.  It's barely creative...and that's ok!

So without shame, I lay out what we ate this week with no long explanations or excuses.
  • Cucumber & carrot slices
  • Strwaberrys
  • Bisquick garlic cheese biscuit (the recipe is on the box, but not on this was not a family favorite :)
  • Dinosaur chicken

By the way...I found the divided plates at our local grocery store this week for $1!!  I only got 4 and they are out now :(  I'm hoping some more come in soon because they are great!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Honey-Oat Pan Rolls

2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the water, honey and 4 tablespoons butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until well combined. Stir in enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 24 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Melt remaining butter; brush over rolls. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 2 dozen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dog Days...

Today's lunch taught me a few lessons.

First, I need to invest in at least a few items to make this new lunch thing work....specifically, plates.  Right now we are using these tiny Ikea plates.  They don't fit much and the shape makes it very hard to arrange items since everything slides to the center.  I'm going to see what I can find this weekend...any ideas or suggestions are welcome :)

Second, I need to get some more variety and look differently at the foods I buy.  Today, I wanted to do a dog theme to make use of the dog in my Lunch Punch Animal Shape Sandwich Cutters (Set of 4), however, I didn't have much else beyond that.  I did rescue my Wilton 101-Piece Cookie Cutter Set from it's lifetime existence in the garage (ok, it's been used maybe once or twice) and found a large bone shape.  I would have loved to have a fruit leather or something similar to use it on, but that is not a staple in our house...yet :)  I also am not accustomed to offering vegetables at lunch, so I've already used up what I had and I really don't have anything that is new to add.  Next week when I shop, I'll be sure to throw in an extra produce item or 2 that I can offer daily.

Finally, I'm learning that having two 2 year olds sometime requires a change of plans and thinking outside the box (perfect training ground for creative lunches, right?).  This is a daily lesson, and really nothing new.  Anyway, I had the brilliant idea to cut the 1/2 a watermelon I had in the fridge width wise and use the bone cookie cutter to make it into a cute shape.  It would have worked really well, had my 2 year old not gotten a hold of the watermelon, dropped it on the floor and all but shattered it.  I was able to rescue it and do some 'cut & paste' to give the same basic idea.  I would have loved for it to work perfectly, but that's life with kids & one of the struggles of being outnumbered by little hands in the kitchen :)

So, in the was our lunch


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