Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies…After School Snack

It never fails, kids are starving when they get home from school.  Before my kids could concentrate on any homework they had to have something to curb their appetite.  I would love to say they had healthy snacks everyday, but truthfully, they didn’t.  Yes, they did love graham crackers with peanut butter or apples and peanut butter, veggies with Ranch dressing, and breakfast bars were always a big hit around our house.  However, I won’t deny that I often gave in to Oreos or ice cream, or those wonderful soft frosted sugar cookies that they so often wanted from the store.  I don’t buy those cookies now like I did when they were little, but I could swear they still call my name every time I walk by them.

There are several recipes online that claim to be just like those soft cookies.  I used the recipe on annies-eats.com and it turned out great.  They are pretty darn close to the bought cookies, minus the preservatives.  Wow, that actually makes them sound like a healthy choice doesn’t it?  This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  The recipe I used said it yielded about 2 dozen large cookies.  I would say mine were probably half the size of hers (I used my #40 scoop) so I probably had close to 4 dozen cookies.  Not only would these be a great after school snack but they would be excellent served at a birthday party.

 

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies...After School Snack
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 4½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 3 lg. eggs
  • 5 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Frosting:
  • 5 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5-6 tbsp. milk (plus more, if needed)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together to blend.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
  4. When you are ready to bake the cookies, scoop out dough and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake 6 - 8 minutes or just until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE!! The edges should be no more than very lightly browned, if at all. Let cool on the baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, place the confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in additional milk is necessary, 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Tint with food coloring if desired. Frost the cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired. Store in an airtight container.
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Pizza Roll-Ups…Lunch Box Treat

As the new school year starts we are all looking for new and exciting lunch box items that our kids will actually eat.  My cousin, Michelle, gave me this recipe that she prepares for her daughter, Kaylin.  I think the recipe is easy enough to prepare in the morning before school.  However, you can prepare it ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.

My taste tester, Miss Lizzie, gave these Pizza Roll-Ups a thumbs up!

Pizza Roll-Ups...Lunch Box Treat
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 40 slices turkey pepperoni
  • 4 mozzarella cheese sticks (I used Sargento cheddar mozzarella)
  • garlic powder
  • pizza sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 8 triangles. Place 5 slices of turkey pepperoni on each crescent roll. Slice each cheese stick in half lengthwise and place one half on the wide end of each triangle. Roll up starting at the cheese end. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Place rolls on baking sheet and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.
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Church Ladies Vegetable Soup

Before I begin, I would like to apologize to those of you who subscribe and get email notifications of my blog posts.  My last post of Black Bean Soup was written after two nights of very little sleep!  I was exhausted, as I’m sure you could tell, in the first draft of my post.  I don’t claim to be the authority of good grammar anyway, but that was just bad.  I have since gone back and made changes, but to those of you who saw the original…I am sorry!

Our garden is giving us an endless supply of okra and tomatoes right now.  I’ve thrown out more tomatoes than I care to mention simply because we haven’t been able to eat, or give away, as many as we’re getting.  I decided to do as my mother use to do, and my mother-in-law still does, and make vegetable soup for the freezer.  Vegetable soup is a great way to use up the abundance of garden veggies and an easy meal on the table during the cold winter months.  I ate countless bowls when I was growing up.

I couldn’t get in touch with my 24-hour advice gurus, my mom and mother-in-law, so I started searching my hundreds of cookbooks for some help.  I found three, somewhat similar recipes in a few very old church cookbooks.  I combined the three, and made a few changes, to come up with what I think is a hit.  I didn’t have enough garden tomatoes so I topped off my fresh tomatoes with canned whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped.  I questioned the addition of vinegar, but it was in all three recipes so I decided the church ladies probably knew best.  I didn’t add as much as their recipes called for but I’m not going to mess with my results because I’m happy.  A tip I learned from my mother-in-law is to leave the salt out of anything you are going to freeze.  Salt and other spices will intensify while frozen, so it’s best to add seasonings when the food has been thawed and reheated.

When I take this soup out of the freezer I can add browned and drained ground beef or cooked and shredded chicken if I want a change.  Just add crackers or better yet, homemade cornbread, and you’ve got a delicious meal!

Oh, and one last note.  I thought it was appropriate to use my grandmother’s and my mother’s vintage aprons in my picture today.  I can just imagine them wearing these as they were canning or preserving foods for their families years ago.

 

Church Ladies Vegetable Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 12 qts.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 gallons tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 10 ears corn or 3 (20-oz.) pkg. frozen creamed corn
  • ¼ c. chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium to large onions, chopped
  • 1½ c. sliced okra
  • 2 - 3 c. butter beans or lima beans
  • ½ c. white vinegar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 c. chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook at a slow boil for 30 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching. Cool, ladle into freezer containers and freeze.
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Black Bean Soup


Greg and Savannah both love black bean soup.  Greg likes to order it at one of the lunch spots near his office and Savannah recently had some at one of her favorite restaurants.  She hasn’t seen it on their menu since then so she has been asking me to make some.

Savannah had her wisdom teeth removed last week.  After surgery I decided to make her happy with something to eat besides jello, grits, and mashed potatoes.  I’m thrilled when a simple recipe is so scrumptious!  Yes, it was Savannah’s first meal after surgery, but she had two bowls and Greg said that it’s better than the soup at his favorite lunch spot!

Black Bean Soup
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ c. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1½ c. boiling water
  • 1 (15-oz.) cans black beans, undrained
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1½ tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1½ tbsp. water
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red bell pepper and continue to cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add the bouillon cubes and boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  2. Add half a can of beans, salt and cumin; cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Puree soup using a blender (an immersion blender is easy if you have one).
  4. Add remaining black beans and lemon juice. Stir cornstarch and water together and add to the soup, stirring until thickened.
  5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.
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