Baby Apple Muffins

So many moms of toddlers find themselves with an abundance of baby cereal their independent tykes no longer want to be fed.  I am one of these moms.  I can always make it for her and let her eat it herself but went searching for recipes that incorporated the cereal for a less-messy route.  This recipe is my variation of a couple different recipes I found.  Today I finally had muffins that were share-worthy.

Baby Apple Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup flour (any works, I used white whole grain)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup dry infant oatmeal cereal
1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp Natural Unsweetened Applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and chopped

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and infant cereal.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs and mix in milk, applesauce and apple chunks. Add to dry mix and stir only until blended.

Spoon batter into 24-count mini-muffin pan coated with cooking spray; batter will be very thick and cups should be full.

Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees until done. (I’ll bake them again and try to get a better approximate baking time, but they will be golden, sturdy and a toothpick will come out clean.)


Nutrition Facts (as derived from My Fitness Pal, not science):
Serving size: 1 mini-muffin

Calories: 45
Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 28 mg
Sodium: 47 mg
Potassium: 37 mg
Carbs: 8 g
Protein: 2 g



November Pinterest Fail



There are three things you need to know about me:


1)      I love to bake
2)      I love fall
3)      I don’t have a lot of free time so I like things that are easy


That made this pin the perfect snack after a day at Windmill Acres Farm to round out a beautiful fall day.  Canned pumpkin, crescent rolls and some spice and you’re 20 minutes from a pumpkin pie treat!


Yeah…not so much.  I guess the fourth thing I should have added to that list is that I need to read things like three or four times before jumping in or I miss essential items, like how to cut the rolls (lengthwise).  Instead I just took the pizza cutter and started hacking the poor things up, THEN read the lengthwise part.  Oops.  After sealing them back up the best I could, the rest of the recipe went better.  It was messy and it was definitely a trial and error process as to how much filling to roll up.  They turned out delicious.  But ugly.  The poor, ugly, delicious little things.


Not to be discouraged, I tried it again, only this time I skipped the whole cutting nonsense and just made regular sized crescents.  That didn’t work because the rolls didn’t cook all the way through.  They were better looking, but not nearly as tasty.




I WILL conquer this recipe.  If I can make a pumpkin pie from scratch (like, from a pumpkin! I’m not an inept baker, I swear!) then I can make this and have it turn out pretty AND tasty.



If you read my October column in the Isanti-Chisago County Star, you might be wondering how those projects were received by the many trick or treaters that visited on Halloween.  Well…thanks the rain, the eyes in the bush didn’t show up well.  By the time it was dark enough for the glowing to be obvious, the cardboard was soggy.  However, we will do it again next year because it was so easy and we know (from hiding them around the house) that they do look like glowing eyes and are pretty scary. 🙂  The “Blood Bath” window wasn’t really seen until we ran out of candy and shut the door.  But as older, unaccompanied kids will, we still got knocks after our lights went out and THEN we were questioned, “umm, did someone die in your house? That looks like blood in the window.”  To which I replied, “That’s just from the kids that kept ringing our bell after we shut off our lights.  Happy Halloween! Mwahahahaha.”  And no, the police did not visit my house later. 😉

Decoupage Pumpkin – aka “Pinterest Fail”

Once in a while, I see a project that looks super easy. I jump in with both feet expecting something cool with minimal effort and it turns out … Let’s just say, “not how I expected.”

It started with this pin from Better Homes and Gardens. A simple decoupage pumpkin. Get a pumpkin, glue some leaves on it, voila, instant centerpiece.

Better Homes and Gardens

I wanted a carving pumpkin because we love fresh roasted pumpkin seeds in this house. I washed it well with a vinegar & water solution & dried it well. I had a handful if oak and maple leaves hand selected off the tree that I personally dried. With my Mod Podge and sponge brush in hand, I got to work simply gluing the first leaf on the pumpkin. When it refused to stick, I tried again. And again. And again. I tried doing one corner at a time, I tried letting it get tacky and holding it there. This leaf did not want to be stuck.


I was left with a pumpkin half covered in craft glue. I couldn’t let the poor guy sit like that. So I grabbed an old book that was well weathered, ripped the pages in pieces and covered the pumpkin in them. It was still not what I was going for. 20131010-173629.jpg

So with a LOT more gluing and a more workable background, I got some of the leaves to stick. Not anywhere CLOSE to what I started out trying to create. But I had a good hour plus into the gluing, so it’s sitting on my front step anyway. When people ask why I did that to my poor pumpkin, I simply reply, “I don’t feel that I need to explain my art to you, Warren.” 🙂  And it’s still going to provide some delicious roasted pumpkin seeds in a couple weeks.  


Oven Eggs

I found this idea on Pinterest and then closed the app before I pinned it and couldn’t find it again. SO, I can’t take credit for it, but my kids and I both loved it so I wanted it somewhere permanent where I could share it and come back to it if needed.


I have two growing teenagers and a five month old baby, so I need to make filling meals – quickly.

Here’s what I did:
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
•Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
•Add whatever fillings you would like, if any. We used fresh spinach ripped up in pieces. We will be trying bacon pieces and cheese in the future.
•Crack egg into each cup.
•Season with salt, pepper, whatever you like (I love cayenne on my eggs!)
•Bake time is going to depend on how you like your eggs. I like mine WELL done so they were in for about 22 minutes.

We ate ours with toast (and salsa for my son) but they’d be even better with an English muffin.

Cucumber Cantaloupe Salsa

Living with oral allergy syndrome can stink. I don’t get to eat a lot of the fresh fruits and veggies that I love and the ones I can eat fresh aren’t always my favorite. In fact, even though I loved cantaloupe as a kid, I can hardly stand it now. So while it’s in season and on sale I’m trying to find new ways to eat it. My daughter and I already tried cantaloupe blueberry smoothies, which were great. Tonight we tried this salsa with OJ marinated pork chops for dinner. I thought it was awesome and got good reviews from the family. Husband thought it was missing something when it wasn’t eaten with the meat. I thought it was definitely worth sharing! Fresh, healthy and not cantaloupe-y. We also didn’t find it to be very spicy with 1 1/2 jalapeños. Serve with pork or fish.

Adapted from Good Housekeeping’s Line-Fighting Salsa recipe.

Finely Dice:
1/2 cantaloupe
1 cucumber
1-2 jalapeños
1 red onion

Add to large bowl & mix with juice of one lime & 1/4 t salt.


Home Values are Increasing

Anyone involved in real estate (even those buying homes) has seen this going on and now with the numbers from MNAR, I can show you.

In 2008 we all noticed the dramatic drop in the market value of real estate. Month-by-month, our values steadily decreased until we plateaued mid-2009 through the beginning of 2011. Instead of starting upward, the numbers got lower than we imagined the could have. But in early 2012, we finally saw some improvement and values have steadily increased since. This is wonderful news for many homeowners, particularly those who bought in 2011. They are seeing quick equity in their investment.

Did this upswing in market values get you right side up again? Don’t go by your county tax estimated value – that does not reflect our current market at all! The only way to know for sure is to call for a free market analysis (or pay for an appraisal). 651-674-2639


The Great Minnesota Get Together

Since we’re not city-dwellers, my family doesn’t get to make it to the Minnesota State Fair every year.  But every year that we do is as memorable as the last.  Here are some pictures from the past couple:

Come One, Come All

Wild Horses

One of the cheapest and most entertaining things to do: The SkyRide.  Rest your weary legs and check out the fair from the top.

Sky Ride

The View From Up Here

Real-Life Farmville

A trip to the fair would never be complete without a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar.  Always worth the wait.

Oh, Sweet Martha...