A favorite family breakfast!

I’d like to share a new favorite product in our house: Immaculate Baking Co.

No, this isn’t a “Back to Basics” type of thing, but I started by trying out the cinnamon rolls, like the ones pictured above.  I’ve been trying to migrate my kids away from the super-processed Pillsbury refrigerated dough products, and was just going to try to make cinnamon rolls with my bread machine.  But that still takes a while — I’d make up the dough the night before, assemble the rolls before bedtime and let them rise in the fridge.

But I had two problems with this: (a) I’m so tired at night I rarely do much food prep the night before and (b) such recipes tend to make too many cinnamon rolls.  And if I bake them, they will all be eaten.  We don’t need that.

At my local Wal-mart, I spied these Immaculate Baking cinnamon rolls positioned high above the Pillsbury products that are at eye level.  (Tangent: Check out this blog post about the psychology of product placement in grocery stores, at every store I’ve seen these cinnamon rolls, they’re on the top shelf).

I liked the non-GMO corn products and unprocessed ingredients.  I thought I’ve give them a shot.  The flour is unbleached and unbromated, the salt is sea salt and the baking powder is aluminum-free.

More »

30. November 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Took this picture yesterday at the Commissary.  I’ll let the picture speak for itself.  The subtitle below says “Creamy taste and texture of pumpkin pie flavored with natural cinnamon & ginger”.

I don’t know what to say about this pie-ish product.  Many times you guys have known me to whine about processed foods.  That’s not to say I keep my house free of them.  Depending on how busy our lives are, I’ve been known to stash a tray of frozen chicken enchiladas in the freezer or Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the pantry.

You’ve also known me to buy some of these crazier foods and do taste tests with my kids comparing it to a homemade version.

But I couldn’t bring myself to buy this.  Heck, I’m even somewhat uncomfortable buying canned pumpkin for pie, although according to the can there’s nothing in the can except pumpkin, right?  Mashed steamed pumpkin makes the pie SO good!

That’s all I have to say ’bout that…

Dave goes back to work tomorrow.  He’s in really good shape to return and is ready to get back to society.  Not 100% pain free, but most of his day he’s pretty comfortable.  He’s tapered off his meds enough that I think he’ll be okay, so long as he takes it easy physically.  I think mentally he’s definitely good to go for returning to work!

And then I can get my house back!  And clean things up some!  It’s been utter chaos…Dave has traditionally helped with SOME of the housework — whether it’s folding laundry or washing dishes a few times per week.  I’ve been able to keep the house clean…i.e., free of dirt, but it’s been cluttery beyond even MY personal standards!

Also, tomorrow’s the last day of NaBloPoMo.  I didn’t succeed in the full challenge, but I am proud for having blogged every day in the month of November so far, except for the 20th.  Where I simply had a brain fart, I guess.

Later this week I’ll be dusting off my holiday cookie posts from years past.  I make a couple of fun, unique cookie recipes, along with the classic sugar cookies and spritz cookies.  I’ll just re-boot the older posts.  I don’t plan to change anything this year, I promise!

04. November 2011 · Comments Off on Marshmallow Fail! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Before I get into the main topic of this post, first let me say that this was a much much better day for Dave’s recovery.  He woke up in a good mood, and seemed to do well while I was briefly at a Hurlburt Spouses’ Club board meeting during mid-morning.  He even took a couple walks to the mailbox and back.  Things are looking good.  His surgery sites are still very sore, but at least he’s prepared for that pain and is coping.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was pretty rough.

So, marshmallows.  I like marshmallows a lot.  I always have.  S’mores are a favorite dessert at our house, which we’ll make in our backyard on summer evenings in our firepit.

I made a stupid impulse purchase at Walmart yesterday while grocery shopping.

My word, these things STINK!  I smelled them in the car all the way home, then they took over the smell of my kitchen.  Some sort of artificial chocolatey chemical smell.

I ate ONE. It was 90 calories.  Didn’t feel so hot afterwards.

Yeah, it’s pretty big.

The rest are in the trash, and that’s $2 wasted.  The odor was nauseating.

What was I thinking?

On the other hand, I found these ketchup packets for sale at Walmart and am glad I no longer have to steal have extras of them from Chick-fil-a.

Today I was at the same Walmart picking up a prescription and when I picked up some last minute groceries (I’m always suckered into picking up more than one item at Walmart, don’t you?) and I walked past the endcap with those stupid marshmallows.  Oh, the SMELL….

08. May 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

(Resubmitting to correct photo error)

From 2010 05 01 Hamburger Helper

So here it is.  This is the Chili-Cheese Hamburger Helper-like recipe that I stole from Suzanne McMinn’s blog “Chickens in the Road”.  About a woman who lives in rural West Virginia.

Like I said before, we grownups aren’t huge Hamburger Helper fans in the first place, but since our kids love it so much, we served this up and they enjoyed it just the same.  At least this time I felt better about what I was serving my kids.  Yes, I still served them up enriched macaroni (i.e., not whole grain pasta) but this time I know that I could control the sugar, salt, and I know that this dinner is trans-fat free (unlike Hamburger Helper)*.  Also, the homemade version included a teaspoon of sugar in the seasonings, which I prefer to the high fructose corn syrup in the boxed seasoning packet.

It was certainly less salty than the boxed version, and the kids noticed that, but Jacob still ate more than the adult servings Dave and I had.  Timmy did his usual: picked at the dish and only ate what we made him eat so he could have a dessert later.

In the future, I *could* incorporate whole wheat or veggie pasta, ground turkey instead of ground beef, and I’d like to try some of the other flavors.  I plan to make up a packet and take it on our camping trip in a couple weeks.  I look forward to attempting one of the Italian flavors.

*Note about the trans-fat.  The box of Hamburger Helper I had last week had “partially-hydrogenated soybean oil” on the ingredients list, yet on the Nutrition Facts label it indicated 0g of trans-fats.  This is misleading.  What the “0g” actually means is that there’s less than 1/2 a gram of the product in the package, so the company can round down.  It’s a math trick, that’s all.  There *IS* naturally-occuring trans-fats in beef and other red meats, but in trace amounts, and it hasn’t been proven to have the same harmful effects as the man-made trans-fats, which are produced to help shelf-stabilize foods with fat.

01. May 2010 · Comments Off on What Does "Natural" Taste Like??? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Last Sunday I took both boys to the grocery store.  Dave was working at the train show, so I just took both boys along, which is rare for me.  I typically go during the week when I only need to take, at most, one of the boys.  So it had been a while since I took both Jacob and Timmy.  They weren’t poorly behaved, but I was inundated with “Mommy, can we get X?”…”Mommy, can we get Y?”…”Mommy, can we get Z?”

Among the items they asked for was Hamburger Helper.  Jacob actually cracked me up during his sales pitch, since he even took the time to mention the Box Top for Education at the top of the boxes.  While it isn’t the most nutritious meal out there, I guess it beats a Happy Meal, right?   I remember having Hamburger Helper as a kid.  It was okay, but not at the top of my dinner-preparation list.

Here’s the one I let Jacob choose. Why not? This can be one of our “sometimes foods”, right? I had hoped he’d choose one of the more Italian-themed flavors, like the lasagna-style, but this is what he picked.

If you can’t read the label, the description of the flavor is “Pasta & Naturally Flavored Sauce Mix”.

What in the world is “Naturally Flavored?” Staring at the packaging didn’t give me any insight. It looks like a cheese sauce in the picture, but it turns out it isn’t really. Looking at the ingredients, I didn’t see anything that indicated milk products. Sugar, beef stock and dried onion and garlic jumped out as a hint to the flavor.

Patricia’s Hypothesis: It’s going to be a standard beef gravy with the pasta and beef.

So this will be our dinner tonight — I’ll leave a comment this evening and let you know how it turns out. I picked up some 96% lean ground beef, so I know this will be a low-fat meal, at least.

Speaking of Hamburger Helper, who else remembers the jingle from the 1980s where the slogan was “Hamburger Helper helps the hamburger help HER….” Ha ha! Not “help HIM”….”help HER”.

Because what man would cook this, right?  I found the commercial on You Tube, so enjoy!

18. April 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

So here we are at Costco, for our quarterly stock-up trip. We were almost out of the big ticket items that I usually stock in bulk: toilet tissue, coffee, dinner napkins, kitchen trashbags, bar soap, etc. As usual, we ended up with stuff we don’t need, like a case of Mexicoke. But I have to admit I did MUCH better than usual!

So I was walking down the snack aisle, issuing an endless stream of “No, Timmy!”s and “No, Jacob!”s at their endless stream of “Mother, can we have [insert crappy snack item here]?”. And we saw these chips. And dissolved into a flurry of giggles all at once!!! I think we all agreed: none of us want this!

O. M. G. What will they think of next???

20. January 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

As I said I’d planned to do in an earlier post, we attempted the Batter Blaster product to make waffles this past weekend. So here we go, the required supplies for morning waffles was nice and short. A waffle iron and the can of Batter Blaster!

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

(Actually, I have two waffle irons like this, I just got the 2nd one for Christmas).

So here we go — this is Dave putting the batter on the waffle iron in full Reddi Whip glory.

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

And after 3 minutes, this is what we got:

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL


Very crispy:

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

So we figured, “Hey, perhaps we didn’t add enough batter…”

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

And THIS is what we got:

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

The camera lens steamed up and we got this lovely mess.

Really? When I add too much of my homemade waffle batter, I get a tall waffle — rather gooey — but I’d never experienced this volume of ooze before!

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

But this time we pulled the waffles off the iron nice and early…trimmed off the raw batter on the edges, and had something adequate (but not “great”) for the family to enjoy.

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

As for the overcooked ones, they were fine under a blanket of butter and Aunt Jemima.

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

Happy Breakfast!

13. January 2010 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I was at Costco on Tuesday, mainly to pick up some laundry detergent, but as usual, I was sucked in to buying other things I didn’t need.

Such as this:

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

The product even has a cute little jingle. Turn up your speakers and give it a listen when this web site opens.

Anyway, I first saw this about 2 weeks ago at a trip to Super Target. It was $4.59 for one can. I thought to myself, “That’s the cost of 4 batches of homemade pancakes in my house!”, and left it alone.

But at Costco on Tuesday, there was a THREE PACK for $2.97. Really? Well golly! How could I refuse that? So I picked up a three pack.

This morning I made them for Timmy and me for breakfast. I’ll bypass the suspense and say that these pancakes weren’t bad, but they clearly weren’t homemade.

Enjoy some closeups of the can:

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

It’s even ORGANIC!

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

According to the directions, it’s just point and shoot onto a skillet or frying pan. They recommend a 400F degree surface, but I don’t. I played it safe and kept my electric skillet at 375F.

The initial presentation is quite shocking…although the can looks like Reddi Whip, I didn’t expect the batter to come out looking just like Reddi Whip!

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

After about 10 seconds, the batter will spread out, so be sure to account for this.

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

So on my 375F skillet surface, it didn’t take long for these pancakes to over brown. I didn’t get the tell tale bubbles, and it was tough to tell if the edges were cooking well…so upon first flip, this is what I was greeted with.

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

The flavor isn’t bad, it’s slightly sweet, which is how we prefer our pancakes here, but there’s a tell tale ever-so-slight chemical flavor that sends alarm bells through my head that this is NOT homemade. As for texture, these are flatter pancakes than I’m used to making, and they seemed to get leathery in a hurry if we didn’t eat them right away. I couldn’t cut them with a butter knife, and had to break out my kitchen shears to cut up Timmy’s.

But Timmy didn’t mind — he had 4 of them for breakfast!

From 2010 01 13 Batter Blaster Pancakes

One more thing, this product is also supposed to work on a waffle iron. I’ll have to try it later this week.

In conclusion, I will use the cans I have for the next several batches of pancakes and/or waffles (each can makes 28 4″ pancakes, so I’m guessing 18-20 6″ pancakes which is our preferred size). But that’s probably it. I have to admit it’s quicker and more convenient than beating the eggs and measuring out the flour and baking powder.