01 March 2015

Baking Tip: Make The Best Blueberry Muffins

By Sinea Pies
beautiful blueberry muffins

Question: How do you keep blueberry muffins looking their best? 
Answer:   Use frozen blueberries in the recipe. 

Frozen? Why? Because they won't bleed into the batter as you blend them in. Really! Whether you use fresh and then freeze them or buy them already frozen, KEEP them frozen. 

The Process ...
  • Make your batter. 
  • Take the frozen blueberries and lightly toss them in granulated sugar. Gently blend them into the batter. 
  • Spoon the batter into those muffin tins and pop them in your preheated oven right away. Picture perfect.

Here is an excellent recipe for blueberry buttermilk corn muffins by Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis that you'll just love.

Blueberry Buttermilk Corn Muffins
'


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Photo Credits
Muffin by Stuart Miles on Freedigital Photos
Blueberries on Pixabay

NOTE: This author is an Amazon affiliate. Anything that you purchase from Amazon through Ducks 'n a Row will result in a small commission for me. In advance, "thank you!" ... Sinea
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27 February 2015

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies


By Sinea Pies

This recipe produces soft, thick, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter cookies that could win a baking contest! 




They're silky smooth, peanuty good, thick, creamy exquisitely yummy PERFECT peanut butter cookies. Yes, PERFECT! No joke. 
You just have to pay attention to two little details:
  1. SOFTEN: Allow enough time to leave your butter and egg out on the counter to come to room temperature. That is all the softening your butter needs. Do not melt or soften in the microwave, it will effect your results.
  2. CHILL: Chill the dough for at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator before making the cookies. That's it!

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes approximately 20 cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 + 1 T. cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

Cream together sugars (granulated and brown) with butter, using an electric hand mixer.
Add the egg and beat for 1 minute.
Add vanilla and peanut butter, continue beating on high till smooth.
Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Mix through with a fork.

Add the dry mixture  to the wet mixture and gently beat until it is a nice thick dough.
Chill dough in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ
Form balls out of the chilled dough about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter 
-about a heaping tablespoon of dough-
Roll them in some loose granulated sugar in a bowl or on a little plate.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.*
Make "grid" on top of each cookied by pressing a fork across the top one way and then another.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before moving them to a plate or a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

*Lining your cookie sheet with parchment paper before baking instead of using a plain ungreased pan also works well.

Now you have PERFECT peanut butter cookies.
You may want to double the batch if you have a lot of little "cookie monsters" in your house!



My favorite cookies sheets are Air Bake Cookie Sheets.
They do not stick or burn ... no greasing needed.
You do not need parchment paper to bake on Air Bake Cookie Sheets.



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Note: this author is an Amazon affiliate. Anything you purchase here on Ducks 'n a Row through Amazon will result in a small commission for me. In advance, "thank you"  ... Sinea  
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26 February 2015

Google + Growing Circles Hop plus WHY you should build your circles--all here, right now!


This week we're sharing some G+ Tips at Growing Circles Hop, because we want to be sure you know the benefits of Google+ and how powerful it can be when used.


This week we're starting off by answering this question:
What is a +1 on Google Plus?
What's the purpose? 
What does it do for me?

Simply put, a +1 on Google Plus is very similar to like a facebook "like." When you click the +1 button, you're telling the online world that it's something of interest to you, and maybe others will want to check it out too.


Unlike Facebook,  when you give something a +1, it's not shared with friends and followers as a status update. Your +1's are saved in your Google+ profile and displayed for everyone to see there (if you have this setting activated in your preferences in your Google+ settings). These +1's will also be seen in the home feed of people that have you in their circles, if google thinks it might interest them.

In a nutshell, if someone gives your post a +1, your post now has the potential to be recommended by others. If a G+ user with a large number of their own circles gives your post a +1, there's a possibility of your post being seen by all, or at least some, of their circles (which also very well could be a whole new audience for you).

So, to wrap up our Week 1 G+ education session, here's a quick (less than a minute) video to explain further.



As a blogger, these +1's can give your post a major boost, not just within Google+. 

When a post of yours has +1's, it shows that it's being viewed and that people value your content. The more you have, the more your post can be seen by others, and the more people will want to click on your link to read the full post! 

But, as we'll explain in later weeks of our G+ tips, a post doesn't necessarily have to have +1's in order to be seen either (hope that got your attention!).

One of our regular #GrowingCirclesHop participants recently shared a blog post about reasons for bloggers to love Google+, and we wanted to share it with you today.

Number 1 on Sarah's list of reasons:
Google Plus can be great for building your traffic from search engines!
This reason all by itself should be peaking your interest as a blogger. We all want more traffic coming to our blogs, right?



Read the full post here, and read why else bloggers should love Google+: 
6 Reasons for Bloggers to Love Google Plus,
by Sarah Fuller



Our Party Hashtag Feature Post
will return in a few weeks, but keep using BOTH the linky and the hashtag!


Would you like to Co-Host with us?
We need your help!
Send an email to 2justByou(AT)gmail(DOT)com with "G+ Hop Co-Host" in the subject line and include your blog and G+ links for consideration. We'd love to have you!


 

To make the most of this link party, please follow the rules below.
1. You MUST add your hosts and co-hosts to one of your circles before linking up. 
2. Link up your personal Google+ profile, blog or business G+ pagesOR -- you can link up a specific G+ post of yours - but NOT your blog URL. 
3. Publicly share a post - (new or old) on G+ and use the party hashtag #GrowingCirclesHop
4. Connect with others by clicking on your #growingcircleshop hashtag, or enter "growingcircleshop" in the search box at the top. Engage with at least 2-3 others by a Share, +1 and/or Comment. 
5. Add new friends to your circles! Be social. 
6. Grab a button for your blog, if you'd like. Help us spread the word so we can keep trending on Google Plus each week! (You can edit size to fit your blog in the code).
Mommy Mentionables



Throughout the next 12 hours, check back on G+ and +1 posts with the hashtag #growingcircleshop.

Google+ Tips

The real participation comes with sharing a blog post to G+ using the party's hashtag and engaging with others who are also sharing posts from this party. Interaction and engaging with others on G+ will bring you the most success! 
Help spread the word and invite your friends to our Party!
LINK UP below!!! You can now link up your G+ profile page -OR- you can link up a specific G+ post that you've already publicly shared using our party hashtag!  




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24 February 2015

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #112


This is an exciting week! 
We have added 3 new blogs to our list of co-hosts! 
Welcome to the team...
Tammy of My Life Abundant
Jaime of Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide
Brittany of Mommy on Demand

Last week's party was so much fun. 
Take a look at the ones that you viewed the most...


Most Viewed


Very Popular

Editor's Pick
Cutest birthday party idea! Happy 1st Birthday, Madelyn.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Party from Flavors By Four



Our Lovely Hosts



Love this party?

 Simple Guidelines:

  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below) 
  • PLEASE TWEET THIS PARTY !!!!  We want everyone to know about it!
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • When you are PINNING, remember to do it from the original post. ♥
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. ♥
  • Thanks for joining us!

Follow our hosts as you can. 
Our three new hosting blogs are listed first:


Tammy of My Life Abundant

Jaime of The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide

Brittany of Mommy On Demand
Kim of 2JustByou

CD of CD's Country Living

Diane of Recipes For Our Daily Bread

Libby and Rachel of Two Keck Girls

Nicole and Susan of Flavors By Four

Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow

Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row  (host)
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23 February 2015

Teriyaki Burgers "Just Like" Red Robin!

By Sinea Pies

Don't you love a thick, juicy burger when it first comes off the grill? Can't wait to get your hands on it!  Whether you select a traditional burger with ketchup, mustard and pickles or something more exotic, burgers are the best way to make cooking on a Saturday SIMPLE. 

OK, now, many of you may be looking out the door at 20 inches of snow but "when there is a will there is a way!" (Or, just dream about it till the snow melts and your grill comes out of hiding.) 

You work on Saturday, you know. Sure you do. You clean. You shop. You fix things. Maybe take in a game...and you cook dinner. Not much of a day off! Let's make it a great meal for everybody but not too much work for you!

Let's make Teriyaki Burgers!
Have you ever eaten at Red Robin?  One of their most popular menu items is the Bonzai Burger.  This is a Bonzai Burger "Knockoff" Recipe.



Teriyaki Burgers on the Grill

Ingredients

  • Precooked bacon
  • 85 - 90% ground beef 
  • Swiss cheese
  • Teriyaki sauce in a bottle 
  • 1 can pineapple slices
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Hamburger rolls 
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This will be used to melt the cheese on the burgers at the end. 

    Warm up a skillet on  the stove, medium heat, and spray with Pam. Place pineapple rings inside and sprinkle with soy sauce.  Simmer till the juices run almost dry.  Keep on very low heat until time to serve the meal.  

    Start up the grill.

    Form hamburger patties by hand, making a ball from the ground beef about the size of a tennis or baseball.  Squish each on a plate using a sheet of waxed paper, aluminum foil or even another plate, till they are flat.  Lay the formed patties on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover them on top with Teriyaki sauce. 

    Take the patties to the grill and place them on the grid, sauce-side down.  Now pour some Teriyaki sauce on the un-sauced side. (Is "unsauced" a word? It is now!) Leave them on for a while before the first turning.  Turn them a couple of times, as they cook.  

    When the juices just start to run, remove the burgers to a foil-covered baking sheet and bring indoors.  Top each with a pineapple ring, slices of precooked bacon, slice of Swiss cheese and pop in the oven to melt the cheese.  About 3-5 minutes should do it.

    Place on hamburger rolls and garnish with the extras you like.  You may want to use: Thousand Island Dressing, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, Pickles and/or tomato slices or nothing extra at all.

    Serve with chips, fries or macaroni salad on the side.  ENJOY!


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      Photo credit: Hamburgers on a Wooden Board by Grant Cochrane on freedigitalphotos


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      20 February 2015

      M is for Monkey Preschool Craft

      By Sinea Pies



      When planning the Letter M is for Monkey lesson for my preschool class, I was convinced I would find so much material that it would be difficult to decide what I wanted to use. Not! It was shocking to see how much WASN'T on the internet for monkeys. Really? 

      So, it presented an opportunity for me to create my own. Of course, when it comes to stories, Curious George fills the bill. We borrowed a DVD from the library with a series of Curious George cartoons on it. We also read Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed! The library has a number of great picture books that tell about monkeys. But I still needed a craft!


      Three puppets made by Preschoolers!




      Our craft was a puppet.
      This lunch-bag puppet is my creation. I found a few ideas online that I kind-of liked but the final product is original. Please feel free to use it. Would love link backs if you blog about it but it is yours to do as you see fit!  


      Paper Bag Monkey Puppet

      Supplies
      paper lunch bags
      Card or cover stock 
      glue sticks
      Elmer's glue
      googly eyes*
      crayons



      Instructions
      • Print pattern 1 and 2 on card-stock.
      • Color the parts on page #2 before cutting the pieces out.
      • Cut out pieces on both pattern 1 and 2.
      • Using Elmer's glue, attach the head to the foldout part of the paper bag.
      • Glue on the face piece with eyes and then the part with the mouth partially covering it.
      • Glue the arms in between the fold of each side of the bag.
      • Attach the hands to the arms
      • Glue the tail sticking out of the fold.
      • If you prefer googly eyes, glue them on last. There are dots for eyes right on the pattern that also look cute!



      Monkey Puppet Pattern #1


      Monkey Puppet Pattern #2



        Monkey Books and DVD's







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      Note: this author is an Amazon affiliate. Anything you buy from Amazon through this blog will result in a small commission for me. In advance, "thank you"  ... Sinea

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