Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins from Family Food on the Table

18 Nov
The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get off my pumpkin kick until after Thanksgiving. I’m still all about pumpkin for a few more weeks, at least.

I’m finding that this school year, due to our scattered after school schedules, I’m doing a great deal more driving than I am baking in the afternoons and evenings. Whereas I used to be able to do a quick after school baked snack at the end of my work day, this year I can only do that a couple of times a week, if I’m lucky. This means that I haven’t had a lot of new and exciting recipes to try out and to share, and for that, I apologize!

On Monday however, a recipe came across my virtual desk and it definitely piqued my interest. I actually had to read the title a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly, as I wasn’t sure I’d seen this combination of ingredients in the past. It’s not that it was anything crazy, it’s just that it wasn’t something I think I’d paired together in the past.

It meant that I just had to try it, just to see how it was.


Batter looked good, that's always a good sign!

Batter looked good, that’s always a good sign!

The recipe was for Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins, and it was from Family Food on the Table and it said chocolate chips were optional. To me, chocolate chips are almost never optional, but I liked all of the ingredients that were listed and I had them all, except for the white-wheat flour. I had white, I had wheat. I did not have white-wheat, so I decided to try using half white and half wheat instead. Otherwise, the recipe seemed perfect for an after school snack/late night snack/breakfast for our whole family; well at least for almost all of them. I forgot that one of them doesn’t like very much with peanut butter. She ended up having something else for her snack instead.

These came together quickly and easily. The prep time was estimated to be about ten minutes, and that was pretty on-target. The cook time was 18-22 minutes. A few of mine were a little soft on top, and probably could’ve cooked a little longer than the 18 that I did, but everyone was starving by the time I finished working and started baking, and everyone gets home so early now that I rushed them out, not checking each one as thoroughly as I should have.

However, despite my feeling a bit rushed, these muffins were delicious! They were hearty and healthy and deemed a keeper by all but my one non-peanut butter lover. I also noticed that there were several options listed at the end, including the option to substitute various types of nut butters such as almond butter to keep them peanut free. It also said that they were tasty with a little extra spread of peanut butter on them when eaten. One of my daughters did that, and she did say they were delicious that way too!

So if you’re as curious as I am as to the combination of peanut better and pumpkin and chocolate chips, I suggest you give these tasty muffins a try! Head on over to Family Food on the Table and check out this recipe and all their others too! Or maybe, you eat pumpkin, peanut butter and chocolate chips together all the time, and in that case, you most definitely want to head on over and check this recipe out!

Enjoy and have a great rest of your week!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties

6 Nov
These were so great! Definitely a keeper!

These were so great! Definitely a keeper!


On a recent school day afternoon, I received a text from one of my daughters. It was about an hour before I had to leave and she’d be arriving home while I was gone, but I wouldn’t be back for quite some time.

Her lunch had been ruined. I can’t remember the reason why or specifically what happened. My memory isn’t what it used to be. She was annoyed and she was already starving, with a couple of hours to go before she’d arrive home.

I didn’t have an after school snack planned, and she knows how to make a bagel, cereal, a sandwich, things like that, but I had an idea. I looked up a recipe I’d been wanting to try for a while,  one I’d seen floating across my Facebook page for Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties.

Now I know that doesn’t sound like a typical yummy after school snack, it’s definitely not chocolate and not sweet, but it’s savory and my kids actually all like broccoli. In fact, this one in particular loves it, and her winning recipe that got us to the White House in 2012 was a simple broccoli and cheese omelet. Rather than let her come in and make just anything for a snack, which was now replacing her lunch, I thought maybe I could leave her these to just reheat and she’d get something a little warmer and more nutritious than a bowl of cereal.

I checked out the recipe, checked out the time and figured out that if I moved quickly, I could squeeze in the prep and cook times before I left. They’d be done and on top of the stove when she got home. It might even make her day a little better, which would be an added bonus.

They were delicious. I texted her a photo of them when I knew she was out of school, on the bus, on her way home. “Just reheat and eat,” I said.

She was so happy. So hungry and so happy. I later texted again to see if she liked them and she said she loved them, that they were very similar to this recipe that we’d gotten out of our cookbook that we’d received at our White House luncheon, minus the hot dogs and pasta. When my other daughters got home from school, they too reported loving this after school snack.

So I call this a great recipe success! All thumbs up, a quick and easy recipe and it can be used for a side dish with a meal or on its own; even as an after school snack. Who knew?!

When I saw this recipe go by on Facebook, a friend was sharing it to another friend’s wall, but there was no originating information to go with it. I did an online search, saw the recipe on the site, but the photo was different than the one in the recipe I had, and this person too, reported getting it from a random Facebook post. However, someone put up a comment with the origination of the recipe, so I’d like to give credit here to the Po’Man Meals blog. Thanks for inspiring a whole lot of us!

I’m using the ingredients and directions I found on, which is the same as the one I have printed out at home, so thanks to them as well.

I encourage you to give it a try!

Baked Cheese and Broccoli Patties


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat, add in the garlic and onions. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Sauté until onions are garlic are tender, set aside to cool.
  3. Add the broccoli to a kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the broccoli and squeeze out the extra moisture. Pour the drained broccoli into a large bowl, add the onion and garlic and mix gently.
  4. To the same bowl, add the panko, the cheeses, eggs, and salt/pepper to taste.
  5. Mix together and form into patties, place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes if needed, or until browned and crispy.


What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Taco Bake

4 Nov

This little “cookbook” is handmade from my college roommate, Karen, circa May 1993. I still cook from it!


Last week during one of my posts I mentioned a cookbook that my college roommate, Karen had made me before we graduated URI back in 1993. Despite all our moves from state to state, apartments to house, that little booklet has traveled with me and several of our regular recipes have come from it. However, there’s so many in there that I haven’t made in years. Recently I pulled it out again, as I was specifically looking for a recipe for dinner that we hadn’t made in years, probably since before we had kids. It was a huge hit, so I thought I should share it here.

My family all likes Mexican food but I was getting a little tired of our alternating meals: tacos and quesadillas (even though they weren’t at all tired of them and could probably eat tacos and quesadillas day after day, I could not.) I decided to give Karen’s Taco Bake a try. It got four thumbs up. (And a thumbs down from Alex who said, “But I really liked the tomatoes Mom.”)

You don’t need a ton of ingredients for this recipe and I had everything on hand even though I hadn’t planned it in advance.

This recipe is all the things I like: quick and easy, one pan, and budget friendly. I had a pack of ground turkey in the fridge and everything else on hand in the house already.


1 lb. Grd. Turkey or Beef

1 12 oz. jar of salsa (I had a 24 oz. jar, with about half left so I just dumped it all in.)

1 cup corn (drained if canned, mine is frozen)

1/2 cup mayo

1 Tbl. Chili Powder

2 cups crushed tortilla chips (I didn’t measure, but I put about half a bag into a ziploc and crushed them.)

2 cups Montery Jack Cheese (I used a block of cheddar)

I love how it first looks when you throw it all together.


Brown and drain meat.

Stir in salsa, corn, mayo and chili powder.

Layer 1/2 meat, cheese and chips in a 2 qt casserole (I used a 11×7 baking dish)

Repeat so that cheese is on top of chips.

Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is lightly crisp.

Top with shredded lettuce, tomato and sour cream.

My kids were so excited for this new meal, they couldn’t wait to try it out.

Now you could serve it on a plate as is, or as my kids like to do, you could throw it into a soft taco and wrap it up, with all the fixins’ and eat it that way. We had a little of both at our house; some on a plate and some in wraps. Either way….delicious.

So there you have it….another one of Karen’s famous recipes from my college years.


Fun Friday: Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal from Budget Bytes

30 Oct
This has been a delicious treat all week long!

This has been a delicious treat all week long!

Going Orange for No Kid Hungry today? We are!

In honor of the big day, I thought I’d share a brand new recipe with you that we tried earlier this week and enjoyed very much.

Over the weekend we celebrated our daughter’s 16th birthday, and at the gathering my cousin Val handed me a couple of recipes she thought we’d enjoy. One of them was today’s recipe from Budget Bytes for their Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.

Oftentimes when I look at a recipe for consideration, the title tells it all, and this recipe was one of those times. I knew that we loved baked oatmeal, and I knew that we loved pumpkin pie. I knew that we would love this recipe. I had plenty of each of the ingredients on hand, in fact, when I saw that a basic recipe makes an 8×8 dish, I decided to double it for our family, so I did, and I used a 9×13 dish instead.

Photo's a little blurry, but I doubled this recipe so we'd have plenty to last the week.

I doubled this recipe so we’d have plenty to last the week.

I chose to make this recipe for Monday’s after school snack, knowing that Tuesday and Wednesday are my typing days which means I don’t have a ton of time to eat or cook anything. I eat at my desk usually, typing in between bites and when the kids come home from school, they’re on their own for finding food to satisfy their ravenous hunger. This would last me through both days and provide hungry kids with a choice for something to eat if they wanted it for after school or for breakfast one morning.

Everyone loved this recipe, it was tasty, it was filling and it was easy. I saw that it recommended whipped cream or maple syrup as well as milk or nuts. We went the maple syrup and whipped cream route and loved it. My oldest daughter even thought that caramel would be good on top, and I’m sure it would be, but I nixed that idea this time around, just because it would negate any of the healthy aspects of it.

I also used homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice because apparently I’ve been out of that in my cupboard for quite some time. I know this because when I opened up my cupboard, not only was there none there, but there was a note taped to the inside of the door-most likely from last fall- for a recipe from for Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice. I doubled that recipe and it was exactly enough for what I needed to double this oatmeal recipe.

Monday Musings: Go Orange teaches so many lessons

26 Oct
We're just a few people here at our house, but we're looking to make a big difference.

We’re just a few people here at our house, but we’re looking to make a big difference.

If you have been reading The Whole Bag of Chips for a long time, you know all about our kids’ Go Orange citywide food drive. If you haven’t, you can read about it on the Go Orange page on my blog. In a nutshell though, a few years back our kids were watching TV and saw a commercial for going orange and having food drives for No Kid Hungry. One of them said, “We should do that here!” and I said, “Go ahead!” And they did. It’s been their project all along, from contacting the schools to contacting the mayor’s office, to creating posters and flyers. Although we as adults are here to facilitate and offer advice if needed, this has been their “thing” from Day One, and it continues to be their thing.

This year though, it is their third year running the food drive, and it’s a little bit different. Each daughter is old enough to have their own email address now, so they really can each take an active role in being the ones to reach out and make the contact with all of these people. The first year, only our oldest had an email, so she did all the emailing even though they all worked together to formulate the emails. They all made posters, they all participated, but she communicated out. Now, we’re splitting the tasks so that they each get to contact someone, or several someones, in regards to their food drive.

In that, I’ve had a realization of just what a learning experience this is for them. And I don’t mean just about hunger and poverty and statistics. It’s all that too, and that in itself is so incredibly powerful, but I mean that this has been such a hands-on lesson for them in communication skills, and in spearheading something bigger than they are, which can be put to use long into their future lives and careers. As I have been overseeing the communications to the community with three different kids of differing ages and abilities, I’ve been struck by the educational lessons they’re learning “on the job,” and how they’re also applying their learned classroom skills with our Go Orange drive.

I’ve watched in awe as my oldest used her newly acquired Digital Media Class skills and talents to create this year’s flyer. I’ve helped my youngest formulate the “friendly letter” email to the Assistant Superintendent as she inquired as to whether or not this event and its corresponding flyer was approved for 2015. I’ve reminded my second daughter to check for responses from the 23 school administrators she contacted about this year’s event and to respond back if necessary. Although it’s not seamless–they’re still kids–they’re still learning as they go and they’re doing a great job. They make posters every year, and after the first year they knew all the important “who, what, when, where, why and how” information to put on them.

I’m proud of the girls for coming up with their plan for Go Orange three years ago, and I’m so glad that it’s still going strong. I’m glad that as it rolls around each year they are each still so enthusiastic about doing it at their school and at our church, and watching it spread and grow each year. It’s a great feeling to see the results of their efforts on the actual day, and to see that although we haven’t solved the problems of poverty and hungry children, we certainly have tried to be part of the solution.

Go Orange!

Fun Friday: Blueberry Crisp in a mug for one

23 Oct
I loved this fruit crisp recipe from Rumble in the Kitchen!

I loved this fruit crisp recipe from Rumble in the Kitchen!

It’s Friday night and we’ve all survived another week! I think that we all deserve a treat to celebrate our successful completion of Monday through Friday, don’t you?

I’m a big fan of desserts in a mug, and I’ve shared the Nutella Mug Cake recipe with you in the past. Today however, I am going to share a new dessert in a mug recipe with you. It’s one I tried one night at the very end of the summer. My whole family was gathered around the fire pit for one last fire before the start of school. They were enjoying the typical summer treat, S’Mores. I don’t like S’Mores, but I didn’t want to miss out on the fire pit time together so I sat and didn’t eat. The entire time though, my wheels were turning, trying to think of what I could eat later on that would satisfy my dessert cravings.

Enter Rumble in the Kitchen’s Selfish Fruit Crisp by Rumble in the Kitchen, a dessert crisp in a mug for one. I had most of the ingredients on hand and what I didn’t have I could do without.

It was going to be just enough for me!

We had gone blueberry picking recently and I had frozen several bags of blueberries to last us for a few months. I decided to make my fruit crisp a blueberry crisp. I couldn’t wait.

In fact, as I type this I am realizing that I still have blueberries in my freezer right now!!

In her recipe, the author of Rumble in the kitchen gives you some choices:

Bread crumbs, or oatmeal plus flour, or an oatmeal packet. I chose the oatmeal plus flour.

It also called for a cereal to be used along with some flour, but I did not include those items.

The rest I pretty much followed as written, but the great thing about a crisp dessert is that you can almost never have too many oats, too much butter, or too much brown sugar (within reason!) It’s always delicious!

So if your mouth is watering right now the way mine is, I encourage you to check out the recipe over at Rumble in the Kitchen and make yourself a nice fruit crisp for dessert and celebrate another week down!

Hungry yet?

Hungry yet?



Fun Friday [Night]: An ode to leftovers

16 Oct
This is my empty dinner dish...I got to have my favorite dinner twice this week, once early in the week and once leftover. Do you make use of your leftovers?

This is my empty dinner dish…I got to have my favorite dinner twice this week, once early in the week and once leftover. Do you eat leftovers?

Happy Friday Night everyone!

We made it through the week. At one point today I questioned if I’d even survive the day in one piece, never-mind the entire week.

Although this week was a short one, it was such a busy one that it seemed extra- long. By 1:30 this afternoon I was so wiped out from today, I couldn’t believe the day was only half over. Once it was over we had one child home for the evening, one child out for the evening and one child away for the weekend.

That made it a perfect night for leftovers.

We were gone all day, no one was home to cook, yet we had an elaborate menu of fabulous dinners to choose from when we finally got home tonight, completely wiped out physically and mentally. Not only that, but we could essentially all get to eat our most favorite dinners tonight since this week we had something that everyone loved at least once during the week. My favorite dinner is Chicken Marsala and I just polished off the last of it.

A few days ago my friend Paula from the blog My Soup For You shared a link from NPR on Facebook about the use of leftovers and the actual historical significance of leftovers. You can read the article or listen to it here, and I found it to be a very interesting read, particularly because my husband and I always talk about how much we love being able to use our leftovers and how our kids really love getting to eat their favorite dish from the week a second time.

As you know, we usually try to plan our meals two weeks at a time, but oftentimes in that two week cycle we get to have a “Leftovers Night” on the menu at least one time, if not two, and I also will often eat leftovers for my lunch during the week if I’m working from home. In fact, in many cases, like tonight for example, our leftovers completely saved the day.

Or night.

We didn’t want to eat out tonight as we’re eating out tomorrow night, and we were running in different directions a good part of the evening. It was so easy to open up the fridge and have everything already done, just needing reheating. It must be what it’s like to have a personal chef!

Here is our two weeks of meals for you, and I’ve indicated which of the meals had leftovers so that you can see just how far you can stretch a meal budget.

  1. Sloppy Joes *We had meat leftover, enough for one sandwich.
  2. Ravioli and salad *We had enough for two portions leftover.
  3. Paninis *We had half a sandwich left and it was lunch the next day.
  4. Soup and sandwiches *Soup was leftover, enough for two portions.
  5. Shepherds Pie *We had one portion leftover.
  6. Pasta with Tuna Sauce
  7. Quiche (ham and cheese for one, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms and cheese) *About half of each were left, my lunch for many days.
  8. Pork Chops *Two leftover, enough for a BBQ pork chop sandwich.
  9. Chicken, broccoli, cauliflower casserole *There were two portions leftover, both were my lunch during the week.
  10. Homemade pizza (one plain cheese and sauce, one veggie) *We had about half left, enough for lunch the next day.
  11. Chicken Marsala *There was exactly enough leftover for me to have my favorite dinner again tonight.
  12. Leftover Night

    These final three meals didn’t get used in this cycle so they will be on the next two weeks of meals menu, which is three less we have to think of.1. Steak sandwiches with mushrooms and onions
    2. Kielbasa with cabbage and onions
    3. Shrimp scampi (Although we didn’t have this, we did have a shrimp and ravioli dish with tomatoes, which was very similar.)


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