Another Year Of Creating Family Mealtime Memories~Thank You!!

December 31, 2010 · Posted in Kitchen Tips · View Comments 


Dear friends and family, This past year has been truly an amazing adventure.You’ve been with me in the kitchen creating some wonderful family memories in the kitchen and around the dinner table. Thank you for your continued support!

Another Year Of Creating Family Mealtime Memories~Thank You!!

I’m so thrilled with the new recipes I’ll be sharing with all of you in 2011! I’ll have fresh new recipes as well as many new article additions each issue of A Busy Mom’s Kitchen Newsletter. In 2011 we’ll be working through simple menus, saving money all along the way.

I wish you and your family a Happy New Year! See you in 2011……..

Make Family Mealtimes A New Year’s Resolution

December 29, 2010 · Posted in Chicken, Improving Family Life, Vegetables · Comments Off 

   It’s a New Year!  Is your family making any New Year Resolutions? Resolutions often include eating healthy, saving money and getting fit, but how about spending more quality time with your family? For many families, New Year’s Resolutions are made only to be easily broken. Make your family mealtimes a top priority this New Year’s. Make a resolution to eat dinner as a family a few times a week. And don’t stress about putting a gourmet meal on the table – simple choose quick, easy and affordable recipes like these delicious and comforting recipes:

Apple Chicken


2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup sliced onion

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 apples, cored and sliced

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup sparkling cider


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Saute onion and apples together until tender, approximately 4 minutes. Remove onion and apples with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same skillet, brown both sides of chicken breasts.

Place chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover chicken with the onions and apples.

In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, mustard, cloves, cinnamon and sparkling cider. Pour over chicken. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with Candied Carrots (recipe below) and Herbed Nutty Risotto. Top off with a Golden Butterscotch Rum Cake.

Candied Carrots


2 1/4 cups (16 ounces) mini peeled carrots

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine cut into pieces

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper


Place carrots in a pot of salted water. Cover and bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20-25 minutes. Do not over cook carrots.

Drain carrots and return to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in butter or margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Serve warm.


Merry Christmas from Noel’s Kitchen Tips

December 24, 2010 · Posted in Improving Family Life · View Comments 


Hope you all are gathering with your families and are looking forward to a bright and merry Christmas and joyous holiday season. 

From my family to yours, Have a joyous Christmas! 

Super Cute Cookie Wrapping Idea

December 23, 2010 · Posted in Noel's Kitchen Smarts · View Comments 

Yesterday, I was surprised with some homemade cookies wrapped and placed in this cute Santa Pants gift bag from my friend Bonnie. It’s the most adorable way to give a gift! Some of the cookies didn’t last long either when I brought them home. Suit up some sweet treats for little ones, fill with small gifts for under the tree, or give teacher gifts in the cutest container yet. 

Tuesday’s Kitchen:Last Minute Homemade Holiday Gifts

December 21, 2010 · Posted in Noel's Kitchen Smarts · View Comments 

Tuesday’s Kitchen is about sharing tips with you that are frugal, easy, and homemade from the kitchen.

Last Minute Homemade Holiday Gifts

 If you have a rather large gift list and your on a budget, homemade gifts that are made from the heart are always special. Ciders, Jams, Cookies, Fudge, or Cocoa Mixes are inexpensive and if you visit your local thrift store or dollar store, you can always find jars, festive boxes, and ribbons to wrap them in.

How about using that old mayonnaise jar? Glue 3 buttons on one side, add a piece of holiday fabric around the top, top with a foam ball from your local fabric store with a cute little hat and you have yourself a snowman jar.

Create wonderful muffin mixes and place in a small basket with a couple of jars of homemade jam, and tea bags. Maybe even add a book. We all have those moments where we enjoy a hot cup of cocoa or tea while reading a good book.

There are so many creative homemade gifts you can make for those on your gift list that are frugal, and sugar easy.

And I’d love to hear your homemade holiday ideas too. Write in the comment section and tell me about it! (And have a fantastic holiday season with your family!)

The Candy That Lasts Long After Christmas

December 20, 2010 · Posted in Improving Family Life · View Comments 

Candy Canes!

Candy Canes

Remember growing up reading the Big Golden Books? Here’s a fun little story about a candy that not only lasts long after Christmas but this candyputs a smile on a child’s face. Enjoy!

Candy canes have the nicest way
Of lasting long after Christmas Day.
For, after you’ve eaten two from down low,
And maybe one from up high-
You just can’t manage to eat some more
No matter how hard you try.

But after the Christmas tree is gone,
And the cookies and candy, too-
And it’s January, and dark and gray,
And there’s nothing much to do,
And you wish for something to nibble on
While it sleets and freezes and rains,
Why, up on the shelf in a big glass jar,
There are always some candy canes.

They’re mostly always
broken in bits,
And sticky, and
stuck with pine,
And hard to unstick,
and hard to get out-
But they taste
most specially fine,

All broken the size to fit your mouth,
All syrupy, peppermint sweet,
All Christmasy red and white, and then-
Why there’s nothing so good to eat
As candy canes, with their very nice way
Of lasting long after Christmas Day.

-Kathryn Jackson; from the Big Golden Book The Santa Claus Book, copyright 1952

Sweeten Your Baking This Holiday

December 19, 2010 · Posted in Desserts · View Comments 

As I go through my pantry, I realize that I am low on my granulated sugar from the baking I’ve done these past couple of weeks. Ugh! Granulated sugar is used a lot in your everyday baking and cooking. However, today I want to share with you a very versatile sweetener that I was first introduced to when I was baking for the Share Our Strength campaign.  For the past few days, I’ve been using Natural Sucanat, aka Whole Cane Sugar. I have a huge bag in my pantry leftover from this past summer’s baking. After a little bit of research over the summer, I found that this sugar is simply dehydrated organically-grown sugar cane. Its crystals remain rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamins. White sugar is highly processed including being cleaned with phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide and then filtered through bone char. As a mom, I’m always searching for healthier ways to bake and cook for my family.

Sweeten Your Baking This Holiday

 Whole cane sugar can be a great substitute for white granulated sugar.  When it comes to using this sugar, you’ll taste great results.

Here’s a delicious recipe I found and adapted with a couple of different ingredients to try. I used canned berries, which I had on hand in the pantry, but fresh berries would be great too. It can also be a great alternative when baking holiday goods for your next holiday cookie swap:

Berry Oatmeal Bars:


1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, (1/2 cup)

3/4 cup oats

2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1 14.6 ounce can berry combo, juices drained

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 8×8 baking pan with butter or baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, salt and butter. With a pastry blender, blend until mixture is a crumbly consistency. Knead in oats. Reserve 1/2 cup of dough mixture.

Press the remaining dough in greased baking pan. In a small bowl, lightly stir berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and almond extract. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan. Top with remaining dough and brown sugar.

Bakes for 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing. sprinkle powdered sugar over the top before serving.

Gifts Of Good Taste:Almond Slices

December 11, 2010 · Posted in Desserts · View Comments 

Celebrate the season with gifts of good taste and a batch of these delicious Almond Slices. They’re fast and easy to make, and taste good.

Almond Slices


3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 lemon rind, grated

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coursely cut blanched almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar. Stir in vegetable oil, lemon juice, almond extract and the grated rind of one lemon.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to egg mixture with almonds. Lightly stir to make a firm dough. Knead dough lightly and form into 3 loaves, 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 45 minutes. Slice loaves while still warm 1/2 inch think and return to oven to crisp and brown on both sides. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar.

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