Monday, April 29, 2013

Kid Friendly Food Monday: Ham and Cheese Loaf

One of my sons asks for a ham sandwich every single day.  Unfortunately for him, I don't have ham available every. single. day.
Those days he just has to suffer through a PB&J.  Which is his twin brother's favorite. lunch. ever!
Twins.  Go figure.
Anyway, I know if I want to make Mister-Ham-Lover happy, all I have to do is tell him that ham is on the menu.  (And if I want to make Mr. Pie happy, I just have to serve him anything wrapped in bread.  Seriously, he loves anything wrapped in bread.)
Enter Ham and Cheese Loaf.
Food Ham Loaf

Next time, I think I will try to bridge the gap between my twins preferences and add some cooked, finely chopped broccoli in with the cheese mix. (Mister PB&J also loves broccoli. True story.)  That should make both them and Mom happy, since I am always happy to sneak veggies in somewhere.
food Ham Loaf slices
Ham and Cheese Loaf 
1 lb. bread dough (enough for one loaf)
1 pkg. (9 oz.) deli ham
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp.  Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  On a floured surface, roll dough out into a rectangle, roughly 12x8.  Don't roll the dough too thin.  Place deli ham slices over the entire surface, overlapping if necessary, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges clear. 

In a small bowl, stir together the shredded cheese and mayonnaise.  Spread over the surface of the ham.  Take one of the long sides of the dough and fold it 1/3 over the filling .  Repeat with the other long side of the dough.  You now have a log shape of dough with the filling enclosed in the center.

Move the dough and place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.  Brush top of loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cut  1-inch slits down the length of the top of the loaf (I just snipped them with my kitchen shears).  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Cut into slices to serve.

recipe from kraftrecipes


NOTES: Use all the ham as called for, or less, depending on your family's preference.  For the loaf in the photo, I used about half of the 9 oz. package of deli ham because my other sons don't like a ton of ham on it.

Also, I used my favorite bread dough recipe for this (which I usually make with whole wheat flour, but happened to be out of when I made this), but you could easily use a frozen bread dough, like Rhodes brand, or even this Pizza Dough recipe!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Slow Going

The only thing I have worked on this week is my new nephew's quilt.

I've got the entire center quilted, now I just have to finish quilting the borders and bind it.
My nephew was actually born this past Saturday, so I'm a little late finishing this one up. But my sister will be bringing he and my 2-year-old niece for a nice long visit the first of June, so I am just going to wait to give it to her then. 
I can't wait to get my hands on my nephew and snuggle on his sweet newborn-ness!
My husband has been working nights this month, and it has thrown us ALL off schedule.  Because of that, I haven't been sewing much.  The only other thing I have had time/energy to work on are some pillowcases that I am embroidering for our children at Church.  I am in the presidency of the Primary (the children's organization), and these pillowcases are what we are giving them as a birthday gift this year.  "I am a Child of God" is the Primary theme for this year.
WiP's - no finishes (But so, so close!)
Worked on: 
*Baby Boy quilt - half quilted
Not worked on:
Toy Story Blanket - squares cut

 Improv Log Cabin Pillow - no progress
 Upcycyled Tees - 1 of 3 sewn
 Love baby quilt - not worked on
 Denim Rag Quilt - not worked on

2013 BOM's & Bees -
Sister's 10 BOM blocks - April block not completed

Virtual Quilting Bee blocks - 1 of 2 April blocks complete

Applique Quilt -  March fused but not appliqued, April block - picked up, but not worked on

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kid Friendly Food: Veggie Ground Beef

For this week's kid-friendly food post, I have not so much a recipe, as a tip that I use to get my kids to consume a bit more vegetables.
Out of my three boys, only one is a veggie lover.  If he had a choice, I think he would eat a plate full of his favorite veggies over anything else.  Unfortunately, his two brothers avoid veggies whenever possible.
So, I try to sneak in veggies where I can.  This tip is one of the ways I do it. 
When I cook up ground beef for a recipe (in this case it was for Spaghetti Sauce), I grate a whole zucchini straight into the beef.  I do this when the beef is about half-way done (as you can see in the photo above, my beef was still pink in areas when I added the zucchini).  That way the zucchini can cook for a shorter time without the beef getting overcooked, and they finish at the same time.
After it has been stirred together and cooked down with the ground beef, I drain the grease and add the rest of the ingredients for whatever it is I am cooking.  By the time the dish is ready to eat, no one can tell that the zucchini is even in there.
Here is what the sauce looked like after all was said and done:
Sauce w/veggie ground beef
 See?  No visible veggies to dissuade kids from eating it!
This works great for a lot of ground beef recipes, especially ones with a tomato base.  I have done it for Spaghetti Sauce, Sloppy Joes, Tacos, and even my recipe for Cheesy Tomato Beef and Noodles.
If you have a hard time getting veggies into some (or all) of your kids, give this tip a try.  It works in our family, and every bit of veggie consumed (whether hidden or not) counts to this mom! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Piles and Piles of Squares

So again, no actual finishes on my WiP's, but I did get some stuff done.
I finished my April block for the Virtual Quilting Bee.
Sampler - Block 3

And just for fun, I thought I would share both of my sister's blocks so far, since neither of them blog.  These photos were the ones they each texted me:

my sister Diana's block
My sister Jenna's blocks
We are having a lot of fun doing this Bee together, even being thousands of miles apart!
As for my other projects, I was able to get the backing fabric and batting for my nephew's quilt. Even better?  I got it for 50% off, thanks to a coupon on my JoAnn's app, and the sheer luck of the Denyse Schmidt fabrics not being on sale this week (hence being able to use the coupon on it).   

I am hoping to have that done by this weekend, considering he will be born next weekend! Yikes. Better get on that one...

Also, I did manage to get one of the three shirts sewn that I had cut out from my husband's cast-offs. 

It turned out a lot better than I thought!  I still have to finish the seams (as you can see on the inner neck seam), and I think I want to embellish it, so I don't consider this finished just yet.

And then I decided on a whim to start a new project.  Two years ago I made my twins some simple tied Toy Story blankets.  Well, they have since outgrown Toy Story, but my youngest son is now totally into Woody and Buzz.  So I spent an evening cutting the leftover flannel to make my 2-year-old a Toy Story blanket.

I decided while I was in the flannel-cutting groove, I would get out my stack of flannel that I bought two years ago for my (still in progress) denim rag picnic quilt and get those cut into squares, too.  So  I ended up spending the past three nights cutting approximately 375 flannel squares of various sizes, and I'm not quite done.

My carpal tunnel is paying me back for it now.

WiP's - no finishes
*New - Toy Story Blanket - squares cut

 Improv Log Cabin Pillow - no progress
 Upcycyled Tees - 1 of 3 sewn

Baby Boy quilt - backing and batting purchased
 Love baby quilt - not worked on
Bonus - flannel cut for Denim Rag

2013 BOM's & Bees -
Sister's 10 BOM blocks - April block not completed

 Virtual Quilting Bee blocks - April Block COMPLETE

 Applique Quilt -  March fused but not appliqued, April block - haven't picked it up yet

Linking with Lee @
 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kid-Friendly Food: Easy Bread Machine Pizza Dough

I love having this great recipe in my "Kid-Friendly" recipe arsenal.  And I love that I can literally just throw all the ingredients in my bread machine and let it do the work for me. 
It is so simple that I pinky-promise all of the ingredients are sitting right now on the pantry shelves of 99.9% of American homes. 
Okay, except maybe the yeast if bread-making isn't a common occurrence in your home. But yeast packets are available at any grocery store, and are fairly cheap for a strip of three.  I even see coupons for it surprisingly often.
(However, if you do make bread on a regular basis, I would recommend getting yeast in bulk at Costco.  It literally ends up costing pennies per batch of bread, and lasts forever if you store it in your freezer.  Just sayin.)
This is a dairy and egg-free dough, which provides it with a slightly chewier texture than a regular bread or roll dough.  I use it for homemade pizza, as well as for breadsticks or Pizza Rolls. 
This recipe makes one large (thick) pizza crust, or two smaller (thinner) crusts.  A lot of times I will make one medium-sized pizza for Mr. Pie and I, and divide the rest of the dough between my three boys to make their own individual pizzas.  They love choosing their own toppings - and being involved makes them more likely to eat their creations.  Mommy Win!
Note: This is just the recipe for the dough itself.  I have only made this recipe in my bread machine, so I don't have specific directions for the hand method of making it.  I will give basic baking directions for making a pizza, but if you are using this recipe for Pizza Rolls, refer to the baking instructions in that recipe, instead.
  Bread Machine Pizza Dough

(Easy!) Bread Machine Pizza Dough
 1 envelope (or 2 1/4 t.) granulated yeast
3 c. flour (I use a mix of white and wheat)
1 t. salt
2 t. sugar
2 T. oil (olive oil is preferred, but vegetable oil works just fine) 
1 c. + 2 T. water

Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturers directions.

Note: The rule of thumb for bread machines is wet ingredients on the bottom, flour on top of wet ingredients, then yeast on top of the flour, but please refer to your own bread machine's instruction booklet if you have any questions about how to place your ingredients. 

Run the bread machine on the dough cycle. 

My bread machine's dough cycle includes the rising time, running for about an hour and a half from start to finish.  I let the dough stay in the machine the entire time.  However, if your machine's dough cycle runs shorter or differently, or you just don't want to let it rise in the machine pan, you can always take the dough out after the initial mixing and kneading, place it in a greased bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled.

For Pizza: punch down dough, roll or stretch out and place on greased pizza pan (or lightly dust pan with cornmeal).  Top with sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from

Linking Up Here:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WiP Wednesday - Something New

Not much work happened on my WiP's this past week.  Unless you count buying new fabric for some of them (which I totally count!)  But really, I am pretty much caught up on my BOM's and waiting for April's blocks to come out so I can get to work again.

In the meantime, I did start a new WiP that should be fairly easy to finish.  I pulled out my scrap boxes made this Improv Log Cabin block to cover a sad old pillow on my living room couch.
Improv (Wonky) Log Cabin

Even though I have been quilting for a few years now, this is my first improv block, and my first venture into any kind of "wonky" piecing. My natural personality likes things ordered and precise, but I really liked the process of making this block.  I liked picking my fabrics as I went and seeing what emerged from the process.  I definitely see more improv work in my future.
The pillow I am covering is elongated in shape so I need to add some sides to this square in order for it to fit.  I was hoping to use the fabric that was already on the pillow for that, and to use as the backing, but after placing this block next to it, it is obvious that it is just too dull and lackluster.  So I will have to go out and get some fabric before I can finish this up. 

The only other thing I worked on this week is also a new(ish) project.  I am trying my hand at upcycling my husband's cast-off t-shirts into shirts for my three boys.  I have been using Dana's tutorials over at MADE.  So far I just have a few pieces cut out, so not much to show right now. 

I had those on hold for a few days as well, because I had to get thread for my new serger. (I have mentioned before that I live in the middle of nowhere, so I can't just run to the fabric store whenever I need a spool of thread or a little interfacing.  I have to wait until I find the time to make the trip or will be in the area.  Sigh.) 

But back to the topic at hand... yes, I am FINALLY breaking out my new serger...the Christmas gift from my parents that is still sitting in it's box because I have been afraid of opening it!  I am determined to at least get it out of it's box and read the instructions this week, if nothing else :)

So, here is the tally:

WiP's -

*NEW* Improv Log Cabin Pillow - Block made

*NEW* Upcycyled Tees

Baby Boy quilt - not worked on
Love baby quilt - not worked on

2013 BOM's & Bees -
Sister's 10 BOM blocks - current
Virtual Quilting Bee blocks - current
Applique Quilt March block - fused but not appliqued

Linking to Lee @
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kid-Friendly Food: Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

My boys love getting slushies at Sonic.
See the italic emphasis up there?  Yeah, that's how much they LOVE getting slushies at Sonic.
And at 50 cents a slush during Happy Hour, it's a pretty cheap indulgence.  But, as a mom trying to get some amount of healthy food into her kids during the course of a day, I just can't bring myself to give in to their pleas very often. 
It's pretty easy to deny my boys, too.  All I have to do is picture them in my mind, pouring a cup of sugar down their throats, and I hit the gas and zoom on by.  Because that is essentially what they are doing when they drink a Sonic slush.
So  what is a mom to do?  Find a healthier alternative, of course!
I love finding recipes that I can adapt to suit the needs of my family, and this one does just that.  
Personally, I try to avoid a lot of extra sugar for myself, so I make this with Diet 7-Up to slash the sugar calories. I also substitute Splenda for the sugar to cut the carbs and calories even more.
However, I am not the biggest fan of my kids ingesting a ton of artificial sweeteners, so for them I might do 7-Up Ten, and real sugar, or Splenda/Sugar blend.
But even if I make the recipe as written, they are still getting the fiber and nutrition of the strawberries, no High Fructose Corn Syrup, and no artificial colorings like they would with a Sonic slush. 
If you try it, I totally encourage you to make this smoothie to suit the needs and desires of your family.  It is fail proof.  And really yummy.
strawberry lemonade smoothie

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothies
1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen strawberries (no sugar added), or about 4 cups
36 oz. 7-Up, diet or regular (3 cans)
1 T. lemon juice
½ c. sugar (or sugar substitute of your choice)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and enjoy! 
About 4 servings.