Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Easy Breakfasts

Marvin started taking early morning seminary this year. Which means he needs to leave the house by 6 am. I'll happily get up that early to see him off and make him a lunch, but I just don't have it in me to make him breakfast that early. Since he is gone almost 10 hours, he really needs to have a good breakfast before he goes.

I love how having freezer meals makes my dinner making easier, so I thought I would apply the same approach to making breakfasts. So, I spent Monday morning making muffins, pumpkin nut bread, wheat bread and freezer biscuits. (And some frozen ginger cookie dough.) I can just put out a frozen item on the table the night before and it is thawed and ready to eat in the morning.

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Freezer biscuits were served at a victorian bed and breakfast in Iowa. They are a very clever way to have quick, hot, homemade biscuits in the morning. No prethawing required.

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Another easy breakfast is to layer yogurt, fruit and granola to make a breakfast parfait. If we make one in disposable cup with a plastic spoon, it makes a great on the go meal. ItyBtyFrog has a great crock pot granola recipe on her blog.
Here are the recipes for the muffins/pumpkin nut bread, freezer biscuits, and just because ItyBty is looking for one, for General Tsao's Chicken.

Pumpkin Nut Bread/Muffins

(I double this and it makes 3 dozen muffins, a medium loaf and 4 mini loaves. And its absolutely incredible with chocolate chips added!)

1 cup oil
2 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin, pureed
1 cup orange juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spray 2 large and one smaller loaf pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with waxed paper. Spray waxed paper.

3. Cream oil and sugar.

4. Mix in eggs, pumpkin and orange juice. (If fresh pumpkin is not pureed, blend eggs and pumpkin in blender first.)

5. Pile flour on top of wet ingredients. Stir remaining dry ingredients into flour.

6. Pile one cup of the chopped nuts on top of dry mixture, then mix dry ingredients in with wet until just moistened.

7. Pour into prepared pans. Sprinkle tops with remaining nuts.

8. Bake 50 to 55 minutes for large loaves, 35 minutes for mini loaves, 20 minutes for muffins till pick done. Cool on wire rack 10 min. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Freezer Biscuits

4 cups flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

1. Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives till shortening is pea sized.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir till just combined.

3. Generously flour two cookie sheets and with floured hands, pat out half of the dough on each. Cut into 2 inch squares. (Can also cut out using a biscuit cutter)

4. Put cookie sheets in freezer. Once biscuts are frozen, transfer to an airtight freezer bag.

5. To bake, place desired amount of frozen biscuits on greased cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 min in an oven preheated to 375 degrees.

General Tsao's Chicken

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (opt.)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 cups oil
1/4 cup scallion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Heat oil. Cut up chicken into 1 to 2 inch cubes. Coat with beaten egg. Then coat with cornstarch.

2. Fry in oil till golden. Remove from oil and put in strainer. Gently loosen pieces with large spoon. Return to oil for 30 sec. more.

3. Remove and drain.

4. Mix first eleven ingredients to form brown sauce.

5. Heat brown sauce with scallion till thickened. Add chicken, stir and heat through.

6. Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil and serve.

For more great Works For Me Wednesday Ideas, check out Shannon's blog!

Monday, September 10, 2007


That is what we are.

For family home evening tonight we had a "surprise" preparedness drill. A fake phone call alerted us to a Chemical spill on the freeway near our home and gave us 5 minutes to gather everything we would need to survive for the next 3 days. Everyone scrambled and five minutes later we found ourselves all loaded in the van. Our lack of preparedness was then obvious:

We had only a jug of apple juice. No water.
Our only source of shelter,warmth and bedding were two pillows and a Maddy sized poncho.
Our shoes were mostly flip flops, church shoes or sandals.
Only 2 of us had a change of clothing.
We had $10 cash.
Our food consisted of a half eaten loaf of raisin bread, a half eaten box of crackers and a box of granola bars.
Our partial 72 hour kit and comprehensive first aid kits were still in the basement.
And we totally had forgotten about the dog.

Worst of all, during those 5 minutes we managed to misplace Elsie. Turns out she had gotten her shoes and climbed into the car like she was supposed to. We lost precious time figuring that out, however.

To our credit we had plenty of diapers and wipes, toothpaste, a full tank of gas and our important documents. But not the wills.

We decided that not only should we have a complete 72 hour kit, but also an evacuation plan that included stewardship of little ones and pets. Although I knew where the 72 hour kit and first aid kits were, no one else did. And I couldn't carry them and the baby, and so I had focused on the documents and diapering needs. Hopefully, in a real emergency we would have more than 5 min, but even so it probably would be better to keep our emergency stuff more accessible to the car, and have everyone clearly know where it is.

So, now we have a plan of who does what and takes care of whom. Securing the little ones in the car will be first on the list. And in the coming weeks I am going to finally get that 72 hour kit up to date and complete. We are then going to redrill and see how we do....

My preparedness mission for this week: 2 gallons of water per person per day for drinking/sanitation and cooking needs. For our family that is 14 gallons. I'm thinking that three of these might be the way to go.