Things I Love Thursdays

A few happy Things I Love on this first Thursday of August…

Pengoloo

Penguins

 

A game I never mind playing!  Pengoloo is a memory game made of hysterical little penguins and their colored eggs.  The game is easy to understand, fun, and fast!  It is loved by all three of my kids.  And we’ve given it as a birthday present in the past and it has been well-received. Only negative? The eggs are a choking hazard so stick to playing with kids who are 3+.

Pumpkin Muffins (recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

I do admit that I am usually anti pumpkin food stuffs.  And it isn’t fall.  But these are easy (one bowl!) and tasty.  My kids adore them (because, really, like most muffins, they are basically cake).  Smitten Kitchen is brilliant – I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried (except the gingerbread, but I think that was more about me and less about the recipe, but I digress…)

Make these muffins.  I cut the sugar down to 1 cup, and eyeball the pumpkin amount.  I also eyeball the spices.  And the muffins are always great.  The recipe is really forgiving. I’m going to try making them with a 50/50 white/whole wheat flour mix in the next few days.  I bet they’ll still be great. Added bonus? These keep beautifully for a few days, unlike some muffins with fruit in them that get soggy on day 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I usually just use cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
  • cinnamon sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 and put muffin tins in a 12-muffin pan.
  2. Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except the cinnamon sugar and whisk ingredients together.
  4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine are always done at 25).

Enjoy these August days – eat as much ice cream as possible and run in those sprinklers – it’ll be back to school soon enough!

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The Dinner Dilemma Part 1

I’m not into dinner.  I’m trying to be, for the sake of family dinners, blah blah blah.  But I’d be pretty happy with crackers, cheese, fruit and the only dirty dish being one solitary knife (and maybe a plate.  Maybe.)  I plan meals ahead for a week and then I slack off.  Argh.  My husband is very tolerant of my dinner dilemma, that sweet Mr. T. But today, when I actually made dinner he was so very excited.  He thanked me about 37 times.  He cleaned his plate.  He asked for leftovers for lunch.  The dearie. I should make him dinner more often.

I cooked tonight because the pork was thawed, and I had the other 4 ingredients on hand.  I also cooked tonight because I was home early, and Mr. Pickle Pumpkin decided to entertain himself with the drawer of plastic containers for 7 minutes.  I tried to find this recipe online, but amazingly, I couldn’t.  I learned this one from my friend, Suzie.  Next, time I’ll try to snap some photos while I cook.  But this time, I’m going to pat myself on the back for simply getting a hot meal on the table.

     

Peachy Pork Piquante

  1. Heat about 1T vegetable oil in a pan (deep enough to hold saucy, gooey liquid) over medium heat.
  2. Cut about 2 lbs. of pork (tenderloin, loin, chops, whatever) into cubes and place into a big plastic bag.
  3. Put one packet of taco seasoning into the bag, seal and shake to coat the pork.  Pour the contents into the hot pan.
  4. Saute the pork until it is pretty much cooked through.
  5. Add 1C. salsa (jarred is fine, I used medium)
  6. Add 3/4 C. apricot or peach preserves.
  7. Cook it for a little while until it is bubbly and saucy.  If you want less sauce, decrease the amounts of salsa and preserves.
  8. Serve over rice.  I served it with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped up cilantro.
This recipe served 2 hungry adults, and I packed up 2 portions for lunch.
Upcoming dinner dilemmas?  Calzones.  Indian simmer sauces.