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Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My daughter can be the sweetest kindest person or she can flip on a dime and be just horrid.

My husband surprised us with a trip to go skiing for 2 days after Christmas. He is springing for 2 rooms so no one sleeps on the floor. My daughter asked to bring a friend - and said friend was standing right there. I said I would ask her dad. She started ranting that she would be left out, have to ski with a little kid - who can ski as well as she can. So I apologized to her friend and said no. She is furious. She will ruin the trip for everyone. She is trying to bully me into changing my mind. I am not giving in but I feel bad for her. Her crappy attitude will just make her unhappy and everyone around her which means no one will want to ski with her, which fulfills her prophecy. Sad really.

I am that way more often than I would like to admit. I call my husband for lunch and then when he can't go I get all pouty and my feelings hurt. Then my husband gets mad because I am giving him the guilts and I ruin both our days. Why is it so hard to see when it is your fault? That you are the one out of line? I know that it is an effect of Original Sin. I also know that the only way to get right again is to pray and to be charitable. Both sides need to do this.

I pray that she recognizes that the outcome is her doing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

5 minute Bread - Really

I have always been intimidated by bread. I just don't seem to have the knack. I discovered a video on how to make healthy bread in 5 minutes at It seems easy enough for even me. I also love the pizza popsicles that they make at the end! Perfect appetizer for a children's party.

Ham and Cheese Strata - Breakfast Casserole Delish!

I don't know where this recipe came from, I have had it for almost 20 years. It makes a delicous breakfast casserole and is very easily adapted to what you have on hand.

Ham and Cheese Strata
12 slices bread, cubed  (any leftover bread works, just fill the bottom of the pan)
2 cups shredded cheese (I use raw cheddar and mozzarella - but any shredded cheese is yummy)
2 cups cubed ham (I usually use 1lb of bulk sausage, cooked)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 9oz pkg chopped brocolli, thawed (any veggie works, I have used peppers, asparagus, leeks)
1 2oz jar pimientos, drained (if I have this it makes the casserole look pretty)
6 eggs (free range if possible)
3 cups milk (ideally, organic, raw whole milk)
1/4 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper

1. Grease 13x9 (3q) baking dish.
2. Layer bread, cheese, meat, onion, veggie and pimiento.
3. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, mustard. (scramble the eggs up first before adding the milk or it is a pain in the tush to get them all broken and incorporated into the milk)
4. Pour egg mixture evenly over your baking dish. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or over night.
5. Heat oven to 325degrees. Uncover and bake about 70 minutes(can take up to 90 min) (check it often at the end) Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This is a great meal to have for Christmas morning and I also like to take it to a family when there has been a death because all they need to do is pop it in the oven.

Happily submitted to Homemaker MondaysWorks for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Ann Kroekers Food on Friday, Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.
Updated to submit to Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap: Egg Dishes

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent: On Too many Christmas Parties - What to do?!

How many Chrismases do you celebrate? My number isn't too bad considering my parents never divorced and my mother in law is a widow. So up until last year we had 3 - my family Christmas Eve, my kids/Santa Christmas morning and then my inlaws Christmas night.

Last year it changed. It had too - my son's fiance has 7 she must attend (divorce will do that too you). That means that we are lucky to even see them. My girls all have boyfriends who also have family committments and so it happened - "our Christmas" the one in which I give gifts to everyone - just not Santa gifts - has been moved to the Sunday before Christmas. Sigh, it kinda makes me sad. And yet, it is so lovely and relaxed, and my kids get to play with their stuff a lot longer - it spreads it out.

Why does it make me sad you wonder? Well it means that we will never again all be home on Christmas morning. It is a bittersweet change in traditions. It means my kids are really growing up. I keep asking them to stop but they won't!

So, if you are the Mom whose children are growing up - remember that you can celebrate Christmas anytime - be adaptable, your kids will thank you. If you are the young adult, cut your mom some slack - it is hard to let go of traditions that make the holidays.

Cheerfully linked to Tuesdays Unwrapped,  Works for Me Wednesdays

Friday, December 11, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday vol 3

1. Christmas is right around the corner and I don't have a single present wrapped. Purchased oh, yeah, I have done some serious purchasing. But wrapping - not so much!
I found lots of youtube videos on wrapping presents -here is a good one.

2. 14 days until Christmas - and my true love already gave me my present. Well, really I went out, bought it and then decided I couldn't wait until Christmas for my Kitchen Aid Mixer - I have cookies to make and WOW does this speed up the process. (my sweetie did pay for it ;o)
(Isn't she beautiful???)

3. In his defense - I only bought him a hat and boot warmers. Gifts are definatly not his love language!

4. My daughter Katie's Basketball team won tonight - 68-24 and she got to play 2 whole quarters!!!! I am proud of her for sticking to the committment she made to the team. You see she only gets to go in when the team is ahead by 20 and this particular team rarely wins. She does an awful lot of bench warming. That is hard on a person. But she still goes to every practice, shoot around and game and cheers on the other girls.

5. I am finally over my addiction to Diet Coke - it has been at least a month since I have had one. I then started drinking regular, but have since given that up also. It has not been terribly hard. I began doing it as a sacrifice for a special intention and now it just sounds gross. Thank You Lord for that gift.

6. My Joe turns 12 on Sunday - St. Lucy's Feast Day. He is growing up to be a wonderful, caring and helpful young man and I am very proud to be his mother. "Happy Birthday Joe!"

7. I am the world's worst procrastinator - I have a retreat in the morning, a dinner party for 16 tomorrow night and Joe's Birthday party on Sunday and what am I doing????? Yep, playing on the internet.

Linked to Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes Friday

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pumpkin for Freezing

My dear friend just starting blogging - and she just posted the most adorable video on how to prepare pumpkin for freezing - her cat Chef Pik is the star.

I also learned a lot watching the video. I have wondered about peeling the pumpkin - she makes it look so easy!

Go check it out - tell her hello, and that I sent you!
From Farm to Market is her lovely new site.

I am linking this to 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday, Tasty Tuesday at Beauty and Bedlam, Kitchen Tip Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Works for Me Wednesday,

Friday, December 4, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday vol 3


7 Quick Takes Friday vol. 3

1. This is my 100th post to this blog. It has been lots of fun, and looking back over the posts - I think I am sometimes a little ADHD in what I have posted. In honor of the 100th post I am linking to past favorites. Grab a cup of tea and look around!

2. My most recent post "May the Farm be With You" this is a fabulously fun video with a spin on Star Wars and the Store Wars - it is worth a click if you don't go to any of my other posts!

3. A post on Reconomics - reducing, reusing, recycling.

4. My favorite recipe I have discovered since heading down the Real Food Path - Mashed Cauliflower

5. A post on Elegance- Less is More - this is my favorite post I have ever written. And a Youtube video call Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie.

6. Honey in the Morning - a Sweet post!

7. Lastly, the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why of my frugal crunchy blog.
Go check out the other wonderful posts at Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes Friday

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

May the farm be with you!

I followed a link to this site from Real Food Wednesday. This youtube video was the post - it is so worth the 5 or so minutes to watch. Gather around your kids and your husband who is a Star Wars fan, you won't be disappointed.

On the Fourth Day of Advent - Gift Exchanges

My Parents, siblings and inlaws - 2005

I hope you are all enjoying the Advent Season and using your Advent Wreaths.

My idea for today is about the gifts you exchange with your adult siblings or coworkers or friends. You know the gift you dread buying each year because who really wants or needs another do-dad you didn't pick out?

Over the years this has run the gamut in my family - 9 siblings, 7 inlaws and my parents. Some years we drew names and spent a certain amount. Other years we spent a certain amount and played a game to see what you received. There was lots of fun and lots of bad presents - girls socks for a teen aged boy etc.

The last couple years we have done something different and we really LOVE it. As a family we "adopt" a family for Christmas. One year we all gave in the form of gift certificates what we would have spent on the exchange to a very needy and deserving family. This year we are adopting a family who is going on their 10th child in 10 years.

But we still have fun. Everyone brings something from home they no longer want or need and we play the game for true White Elephant fun.

This truly makes Christmas special to us. Perhaps if you all have more than you need you might consider it. Oh, and we chose families we know but still make it anonymous.

I am linking this to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gingerbread Bowl

This is one of those times I wish my camera and computer would work together. They have been on the outs for awhile. ;o)

This is an adorable idea - you make a gingerbread bowl and fill it with cookies.

I would imagine you can start with any gingerbread recipe although I am putting the one I have here. It contains corn syrup and because I am such a novice cook I don't know how to substitute it out - any help would be appreciated. You don't really eat the bowl - it is for decoration, although if you were crazy about gingerbread you could.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light molasses
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
2tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking soda
1 tsp each - ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange extract, salt
1/2 tsp gr. allspice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large mixer bowl cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Keep the mixer running and add the molasses, corn syrup, vanilla and eggs, one at a time beating until it is well combined. In another large bowl combine remaining ingrediants with a whisk .

2. Add the flour mixture gradually to the creamed mixture - the dough can get very stiff, you may need to mix the rest with your hands to get it all mixed together. Divide into 4 and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill overnight.

3. Cover the outside of a 1-1/2 quart ovenproof glass bowl with aluminum foil, making sure to bring the foil up over the edge and inside a bit. Make sure the foil is on smoothly. Grease the bowl all over the foil with either vegetable spray (which I don't have anymore) or coconut oil. Set aside.

4. On a floured surface, roll one-fourth of the dough into a circle about 1/4" thick. Quickly lift the dough and press it on the outside of the bowl, molding it firmly to the shape of the bowl without stretching it. Trim the dough around the edge of the bowl with a sharp knife. Then using a Christmas shaped cookie cutter - stars would be beautiful - cut around the lipped edge of the bowl about 1 1/2 to 2 " apart and about 11/2 " up from the bottom of the bowl. Refrigerate the bowl for 1 hour to firm up the dough to keep it from slipping during cooking.

5. Preheat oven to 350degrees. Place the inverted bowl on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20-30 minutes or until lightly brown and firm to the touch. Allow the gingerbread to cool on the bowl. When it is thoroughly cool, CAREFULLY loosen the foil and lift the foil and gingerbread off the bowl. Peel away the aluminum foil and discard. The shell can be stored in a dry place.

6. You can use the remaining dough to make 3 more bowls or cut into gingerbread cookies. Bake the cookies on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes - no peeking or your gingerbread baby will run away!

You can fill this with cookies and even thread a ribbon through the cut outs. It would make a lovely hostess gift - they are pretty durable, I don't think I would try and transport them on a trip though.

This is fun to make - just time consuming. The finished product is wonderful.

Linked to: Our Krazy Kitchen, Mouthwatering Monday, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Works for Me Wednesday

Monday, November 30, 2009

The flu bug hit hard

Starting yesterday about 1:00 pm one by one my family was hit with a nasty flu bug. There was lots of vomitting etc. In the end eight out of nine people were laid out - nasty let me tell you. I wish I could remember where I got this tip from but thought I would share in case you haven't heard of it.

To make a recepticle to receive vomit take a paper grocery bag and rip each corner down about 10" and roll down - keeps the bag open - then take a plastic bag and put inside. You can layer them to make it more leak proof. I ended up using kitchen bags because they are stronger. Then as it is used just take the plastic out and insert a new bag. Be sure to put a towel under the bag - that stuff splatters!

I know this is a gross post but I am so glad that I knew about it. In the past I just used the paper bag but it would not have taken the abuse we gave our bags yesterday.

If I stold this tip from you let me know and I will give credit where it is due!

Linked to 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday and Make Do Mondays at My Practically Perfect Life

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Diet Coke and Mentos

Awhile ago I posted about giving up soda. I talked about cost and health benefits from quitting drinking it. Well, what do you do with all that leftover diet coke you bought dirt cheap now that you are quitting cold turkey? Well, I just discovered this YouTube video that has the coolest use for diet coke and mentos!

Handkerchief - yes or no?


A handkerchief (also called handkercher or hanky) is a form of a kerchieff, typically a hemmed square of thin fabricc that can be carried in the pocket or purse, and which is intended for personal hygiene purposes such as wiping one's hands or face, or blowing one's nose. A handkerchief is also sometimes used as a purely decorative accessory in a suit pocket.

Yesterday when I was out braving the crowds on Black Friday my sister needed a tissue to blow her nose. I gave her the last one in my purse. It was rather old because I don't use them much anymore. I use handkerchiefs. It is one of the small ways I am "saving the world one small step at a time". I usually have 2 in my purse or pocket. One that I use specifically for blowing my nose and one to "share" or use like a napkin. My sister was hysterical, she thought it was the grossest thing I have done, ever. If she has to use something else besides paper tissue to blow her nose she throws the article of clothing away. It grosses her out to put the snot in her washer. I think this is just silly. My family thinks I am crazy anyhow but the handkerchiefs just confirms it!

How about you? What do you that your family thinks is nuts to "save the planet" and "save money"?

Go to Life as Mom Frugal Fridays and read all the other great tips!
Also linked to Jen's Penny Pinching Party lots of great tips!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Potato Soup - The Ultimate in Comfort

Don't you love the new logo!
I made this soup up years ago. I love cheese and bacon just NOT in my potato soup. I also needed it to be gluten free. This soup is delicious, nutritious and frugalishious! It is rich and creamy.

Potato Soup

Peel and boil about 10 potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped small
2 stalks celery and 2 carrots chopped small
1/2 stick plus 2TBS butter divided
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk.
1 cup white beans cooked and mashed (for protein)

While your potatoes are boiling heat 2TBS butter in a pot, add vegetables cook until tender. Add broth. Meanwhile heat milk and stick of butter add to cooked, drained potatoes. Partly mash potatoes. Add beans and mix. Add to heated broth and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually add spinach at this point.

This soup can also be made with leftover mashed potatoes - just add to the veggies and broth.

Linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday. Go check out all the other great posts.
I have also linked to Ann Kroekers Food on Friday - lots of great food posts.
And for some Tightwad tips check out Tightwad Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stay at home Tuesdays

This year my oldest daughter and my youngest daughter only have had school on MWF and they both have had Tuesdays and Thursdays off this semester. We started a lovely little tradition called "Stay at home Tuesdays and Stay at home Thursdays" some days we stay at home but others we run errands, go to mass, go out to lunch. We have had some of the most wonderfully enjoyable days I have spent as a mommy. I think that because I am so aware that my time with them is numbered I realize its preciousness. Cassie is 18 and in college, she will be moving out sooner than I want. Sylvia will start kindergarten next year and unless God blesses us with another sweet baby I will end an era in my life - life with little people at home all day.

As I type this I can hear them at the kitchen table playing memory. It is a memory I hope I never forget. They are laughing and having a great time. An 18 year old college student and a 4 year old preschooler - dueling it out!

I am thankful for this time. Next week it will be over - Cassie's schedule changes and she wont be home when Sylvia is, so today is our very last Stay at Home Tuesday. We are going to commemorate the day with mass at noon and Sushi for lunch!

I am thankful to God for this time with my biggest and littlest girls!

Join all the other bloggers over at Chatting at the Sky for Tuesday's Unwrapped.
I am also linked to Gratituesday hosted by Heavenly Homemakers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday vol 2

I love the thought of the randomness this quick take can go. This week my theme is thanksgiving of course in honor of Thanksgiving.

1. I am so very thankful for my husband. He works very long and hard hours with a lot of stress so that we want for nothing. He is a strong and faithful Catholic man who tries each day to be holy. He is the love of my life and even though it is not all sweetness and perfection I wouldn't trade him for anything.

2. My living children. Dougie, Cassie, Katie, Tessa, Josh, Joe, Ellie and Sylvia. They give meaning and purpose to my days and my life. Each one is special and unique. My granddaughter Sophia whom I love so much some days it makes my heart hurt.

3. My babies in heaven. Especially Luke. I miss him but I know that he is perfectly happy with God in heaven. I know that he and my other babies I never met are interceding for the rest of us.

4. I am thankful for my Catholic faith. I know that it was an incredible gift that I was born into this faith. I love so many things about it. I am especially thankful for the Eucharist and Reconcilliation. God is so good.

5. I am thankful for books. In them I have learned and grown, escaped and found myself. I love nothing more than to find a new book to read that grabs me and holds my interest to the end. Religious books are what do that now.

6. I am thankful for health and wealth, clean running water, electricity, a home, a car, education, plethora of food and food choices.

7. I am thankful for my friends, old and new. The ones that have known me forever, and the ones that I am just now opening my heart to. I am thankful for the joy, love and diversity they have brought to my life.

I am so blessed, this list is only the tip of the iceberg.
Linked to Conversion Diary's 7 Quick Takes Friday head over there to read some amazing posts.

Dryer Sheets

I do a lot of laundry. Before my oldest moved out I was doing laundry for 10. We have allergies and so can't hang clothes on the line. I hate static cling. A whole lot. I discovered years ago that I didn't need a whole dryer sheet. For 15 years I have ripped them in half and it worked fine. The other day, I decided to try cutting them in 4ths. Yes, 1/4 of a dryer sheet works just fine in my super sized front loading dryer. OH YEA!!!

I tried the blue spikey balls, but they keep coming up missing, I never have "clean" tennis balls so cutting the sheets is what I do.

Linked to Works for me Wednesday
Frugal Fridays
and for the first time at The Thrifty Home's Penny Pinching Party.

Cranberry Waldorf Salad

It just wasn't Christmas without waldorf salad when I was growing up - I think it is a memory of my Dad's - his mom always made it and so did mine. My grandma was a utility cook - she had 16 children and so bulk cooking was her forte - she cooked 10 lbs of potatoes every day. So when she made something as special as this it just made the kids happy! My recipe is different then hers but it still feels special. I don't just save it for Christmas though, it is a great dish to take to a party!
Cranberry Waldorf Salad

2 lg apples, chopped
1 TBS lemon juice
2 celery ribs diced
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries, halved
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup real mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
2 TBS honey
1/8 tsp salt

In a large bowl toss apples with lemon juice. Add celery, cherries, cranberries and almonds.
In a small bowl, whisk the rest until well blended. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and put in frig for at least 1 hour for the flavors to "marry".

Linked to Fight Back Friday,
Frugal Fridays,
Real Food Wednesday
Friday Foods
and Party Time at Our Krazy Kitchen
and the 12 Days of Bloggie-mas On the 6th Day at A Moderate Life

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day

I have spent most of my morning reading posts honoring our veterans. I have been crying all morning too.

It is not possible to thank our veterans enough. They lay their lives on the line so we can live in a country that is still free. But it is the wives, the husbands and the children who are left here at home while their soldier is off protecting our nation that I truly admire. Who I am eternally grateful too.

I cannot imagine how it would be to say goodbye and know that it will be 8, 10 18 months until I saw my husband again.

I cannot imagine giving birth without my husband near - and then sending pictures half way around the world so that he could meet my baby.

I cannot imagine welcoming him home to bury him. The very real sacrifice of his life for our freedom.

My husband served in the Air Force before I met him. While he never saw war, he could have and was prepared to.

My many thanks and gratitude to all members of the military and their very generous families.

God Bless You All!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Frosting

Today is my daughter Katie's 17th Birthday!
"Happy Birthday Katie"

She requested Strawberry Poke the Hole Cake. I bought the ingredients to make it but my other daughter didn't know about the request and she made a chocolate cake. Not a huge loss but I didn't have frosting for a chocolate cake.

I improvised and it was really good.

1 container vanilla instant pudding (chocolate would be better but I didn't have any)
2 heaping TBS cooking chocolate powder.
1 cup whole organic milk

Beat together for 2 minutes.

Whip up whipping cream (use really cold beaters and bowl - I put them in the freezer for awhile.) oh, add a TBS of sugar or honey to sweeten.

Fold cream into pudding. Frost cake. It is yummy with shredded chocolate bits on top. (I used Halloween candy).

This Works for Me!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

7 quick takes friday

1. This is the first time I have played along with 7 Quick Takes Friday - hello to everyone!

2. I am rereading for the 6th or 7th time Happy Are You Poor by Fr. Thomas Dubay. It changed how I see Gospel Poverty. From the back of the book:

To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with
destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled
sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of
this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus Himself.

3. H1N1 has hit my house. Poor Ellie is down for the count. Thankfully vomiting isn't one of her symptoms.

4. 5 Christmas gifts down, a hundred or so to go. Seriously. This is with all the usual - draw names, only buy for godchildren not all nieces and nephews etc. I just have a huge list. (1 husband, 8 children, 1 grandchild, 1 gf, 1bf, 9 godchildren, 5 exchanges, a mom, a dad, a mother-in-law, assorted teachers and coaches - and I am sure I am missing someone important tonight)

5. I got out the Cookie Recipe Books this week, starting to plan my baking....yummy! Snickerdoodles ROCK!

6. I am sad, I will miss Tessa's semi-state competition in band tomorrow because of that vile H1N1 and next week because my favorite cousin in the world's son is being Ordained and I won't miss that. Pray for Deacon Jake that he be a holy priest!

7. I hope my kids will say of me what Thomas Edison said of his mother:
My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt
that I had someone to live for; someone I must not disappoint.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spicy Peanut Sauce

(I usually double or even triple this batch)
1 1/2 Tbs. creamy peanut butter (organic)
2 Tbs. oil (I use coconut oil)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. rice vinegar (or distilled white)
1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil - dark if possible to find
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Stir together in small pot and warm until ingredients are well mixed.We eat this over sticky rice but the recipe can also be used for chicken satay.My family absolutely loves this.

My dear friend Laura gave me the recipe and an authentic Asian Hat looking thing to cook the rice in.
I never got the hang of the hat but love love love my rice cooker.
I have tried bottled peanut sauce but it doesn't come close to this yumminess.
Linked to: Kitchen Stewardship's Octoberfest and Fight Back Friday's at Food Renegade.
This post is also linked to Food on Fridays - no button today. ;op


Updated 4/8/10 to add to Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap: Using Herbs and Spices 

Why We are THAT Family

Kristin over at We Are That Family is celebrating her 2 year blogoversary and has asked us all to share in the fun and share a THAT Family moment. There are fabulous giveaways to be join in!

Over the years I have had MANY That Family Moments. Let's see, there was the time my toddler fell out of the barn loft onto his head - (he is perfectly fine - miraculous, but that is another post) and all day long whenever anyone assessed him I had to keep saying "no, the BIG knot on his forehead was already there when his big sister pushed him into the coffee table"

Or maybe when that same toddler drove his dad's truck into the house?

Perhaps the time I called 911 because I couldn't find my 2 year old and I was sure she was dead or abducted but in reality she was sleeping in a closet.

Or maybe when my youngest called 911 on the boyfriends cell phone and the police arrived at my parents home.

Just a couple of examples of why we Are That Family!

Happy Blogoversary Kristen!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ouch Relief

Sometimes my back hurts, a lot. This is what I have used to help with pain relief:

Needed - 1 old sock (or you can make these for Christmas gifts, in that case 1 new sock)

Cheap white rice

Fill sock with rice, tie the end. Stick in microwave for a minute or so - till warm.

Apply to sore spot.

You can use this over and over and over again. I know people use oatmeal (but heat in an oven according to the directions). Beans would work also.

When my back aches this Works for Me!


When I feel scared, unsure about what is happening to our country, to our world I try and remember to Hope.

G.K. Chesteron said it well:
Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be

While I don't think things are desperate just yet, being cheerful is a great
antidote to those feelings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things to do with leftover Rice #1 Quick Jambalaya

Sometimes I just want me some jambalaya. It is so yummy. Here is a quick recipe that helps to use up some leftovers, sometimes though I make the extra rice and chicken just for it!

Quick Jambalaya
2 thick slices smoked bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 small green pepper chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 cups cold cooked rice
1 cup canned tomatoes and juice
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 to 1 cup diced cooked ham or chicken or combo of both
8-12 cooked shrimp (optional)
1 TBS soy sauce (I omit this and use fish sauce because of Joe)
frest ground pepper and salt to taste

Cook bacon in a deep heavy skillet. Cook over low heat until crisp, remove with slotted spoon. Drain. Set aside. Remove all but 1TBS of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are limp. Add remaining ingredients and reserved bacon. Fork-stir until well blended. Cover skillet. Turn heat to low and let mixture cook until heated through.
Makes about 6 servings.

Linked to: Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday
updated to add to Christy @Fudge Ripples Tuesday Night Supper Club!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Best Ribs Ever

I posted a recipe on my other blog - The Rock Spot - for the best ribs ever! They aren't frugal, or crunchy so I am just going to link to the post in case you are curious. (I am not kidding though, these ribs are fall off the bone stinkin' delicious!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mashed Cauliflower

This is a post from last year I am recycling for AlphabeThursday - because seriously,

C is for Cauliflower!!

I have been wanting to try mashed cauliflower for a long time. Today was the day. I had a small head of cauliflower that I needed to use. At first I was going to make the cauliflower pizza crust I found at this lovely site, but didn't have enough cauliflower. So I went to here and tried the mashed cauliflower recipe.

You all know I couldn't make it exactly the same - 1st because I didn't have everything and 2nd because of Joe.

Here is my adaptation:

Mashed Cauliflower

Chop up one head of cauliflower, cook on stove until very very soft. Drain.
Mash with a food processor or hand mixer till smooth. If you use a hand mixer it will be lumpy.

Add 2TBS of heavy cream (I used coconut milk)
Add 2 TBS butter (I used ghee - my milk allergy son is able to eat this)
I added a pinch of organic low sodium vegetable broth powder.

Then to make up for the low sodium I sprinkled some onion salt in.
When I make this again I will saute a little onion and chopped garlic and add it when I mash.

Mix mix and mix some more.

Then I "buttered" 2 small corningware bowls with coconut oil, then put half in one and half in the other.
To one I added a couple dots of real butter.
Cook at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. The original suggested a little paprika on the top to make it look pretty.

This made a perfect amount to feed 5 or 6 people one small serving as a side dish. I will make 2 heads next time to feel my large family. I think this would be good with a little cheese also.

As I was making this my kids where circling me - "what are you doing?"
"Can't we just eat the cauliflower plain before you add stuff to it?"
" You aren't going to ruin it with weird spices are you?"

Then when I got it out of the oven they stood at the stove and ate it like a snack - which I wasn't going to discourage. This is what I heard
" This is delicious"
" you should make this for Thanksgiving to take with us"
"Write this one down so you don't forget"

So I would say this is a winner! It uses cauliflower and onions and garlic- Super Foods. And Butter, ghee, and coconut oil - all good fats! The bonus was the coconut milk.
It is frugal (ghee is a little pricey but you probably wouldn't need to use it).
It is crunchy also - I used all organic products purchased from my co-op, the cauliflower was local!

I submitted this to October Fest Carnival of Super Foods at Kitchen Stewardship, there are lots of great recipes using Super Foods!
I also submitted it to Fight Back Fridays also - another great place to find wonderful recipes using Real Food!
and Friday Foods at Momtrends.
I am linking this to Mrs. Jenny's AlphabeThursdays - lots of great links all about the letter C!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cream Sauce

In an effort to cut out all the premade canned stuff I have grown used to using I needed to learn to make a cream sauce or white sauce.

Who needs a recipe for a simple cream sauce? Me for one and I am sure there are others who would love a little help.

First some Do's and Don'ts
  • Do use a heavy saucepan. If you don't have one use your double boiler over simmering water. Do not allow water touch bottom of upper pan.
  • Do use LOW heat when melting butter - be patient, it is worth it!. Don't allow butter to brown. Keep heat LOW while blending in flour. Don't allow the flour to brown.
  • Cook sauce slowly.
  • Stir with wire whisk.
  • Cook until no trace of starchy taste remains.

Basic Cream Sauce
2 TBS Butter
1TBS flour
1 and 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
Sprinkling of white pepper (I use regular old pepper - my family isn't picky!)

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in flour. When flour is blended in, slowly add milk, stirring with a wire whisk. Cook, stirring over a low heat until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Medium Cream Sauce
Increase flour to 2 TBS.

Thick Cream Sauce
Increase butter to 4TBS, flour to 3 TBS.

Now for some yummy VARIATIONS!

  • Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup homemade chicken stock for an equivalent amount of milk.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup white wine for an equivalent amount of milk.
  • Stir in 1-2TBS of good cognac, other brandy, or dry sherry just before serving (isn't that elegant!)
  • Add 1/2 cup grated sharp cheese. Stir until blended.
  • Stir a little hot sauce into 2 well beaten egg yolks, stir yolks into rest of sauce, and remove from heat immediatly.
  • Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup sour cream for an equivalent amount of milk. Stir in a little prepared horseradish just before serving.
  • Stir in 1TBS tomato puree.

Add a 1/4 cup of any of the following:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Pimiento slivers
  • Sauteed-in-butter mushrooms
  • Ripe olive slivers
  • This slices of water chestnuts
  • Diced cooked shrimp
  • Julienne strips of ham
  • Chopped oysters
  • Chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • Crisp garlicky buttered homemade croutons (serve immediately, before they get soggy)

I don't know about you but we are having Cream Sauce with Dinner tonight!

Submitted to: Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Fight Back Fridays.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mediterranean Stew over Couscous

This is a yummy Crock Pot Meal - with lots of fabulous flavor. I got the idea from an old Pillsbury Classic Cookbook - the kind in the checkout lane.

2 cups cubed peeled buttercup squash (I cheat and use frozen)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup unpeeled eggplant (1 small)
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 small onion cut thickly ( almost in wedges if your family will still eat them that big - mine won't so I dice them)
1-28oz can of Italian style peeled plum tomatoes, undrained, cut up.
1.5 cups cooked garbanzo beans (15oz can or homemade)
2 cups chicken broth (mine is homemade)
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3/4tsp allspice
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups uncooked couscous
1/2 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot EXCEPT couscous and raisins - Mix Well.
Cover, cook on low for 7-9 hours.
Cook couscous, stir in raisins.

To serve, spoon 1 cup couscous into individual soup plates; spoon stew over couscous.

This is a great fall recipe - and wonderful Lenten Recipe. It is frugal, crunchy, soy free, milk free and stinkin' good!
Submitted to Dining with Debbie Crockpot Wednesday
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlams
Favorite Crockpot Recipes at Life As Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap
Just Another Meatless Monday @ hey what's for dinner?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keeping Tortilla's Warm for a crowd

I often serve chicken soft tacos for crowds up to 25. "SOFT" is important. I have one of those wonderful brown tortilla holders like you see in Mexican resteraunts. But that isn't always big enough.
HMMMM what to use? My handy dandy crockpot, set on warm. I have always just warmed them one by one - not very efficient - but if you wrap them in aluminum foil and put in the crock they will warm up perfectly.

This is submitted to Works for Me Wednesday, Kitchen Tip submitted to Tammy's Recipes and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Check the blogs for great tips! And by request Dining with Debbie's Crockpot Wednesday.(thanks Debbie you made my day!)

Friday, October 2, 2009


Last June I posted about Reconomics on my other blog The Rock Spot. I thought it would be nice to list how I have been practicing this lately.

But first what is reconomics?

Reconomics? Yes, if you have ever bought something used - book, car, or house you are a reconomist.

The Reconomy is good economy. Good for the planet, good for the pocket book. Recycle, resell, reuse, rehab. Buying, selling, donating and sharing "gently used" items rather than always going for the brand spankin' new gizmo or gadget.

The Reconomy also promotes simplicity. By getting rid of the stuff you don't want or need anymore through selling, donating or sharing your life becomes simpler.

Not only does each item that is reused, recycled, rehabbed and or resold help both parties it one less thing that needs energy to be produced, it reduces the size of your personal environmental footprint and one less thing landing in the landfill. I love reconomics!

So how have I practiced reconomics lately?
  • Gave my sister all of my youngest's hand-me-downs.
  • Used my fall "decoration plates" as plates - that's right we are eating off of them.
  • The glass jars that my juice comes in I have been using to freeze homemade chicken broth.
  • Used what was left of sausage, potato and cabbage stew to make potato pancakes.
  • Gifted some of my homeschooling friends with curriculum that I have from my homeschooling days. (Still have tons to give away!)
  • Bagged up and donated a lot of our toys - downsized to only needing 2 small toy boxes. (Not bad remember I have 8 children!)
  • Use regular old clothespins to keep my bags closed instead of buying chip clips.
  • Made garlic bread with old-ish hamburger buns and hot dog buns. (mix butter with garlic powder, spread on bread, broil till brown, flip and toast. Yummy!)
  • Begun my Christmas shopping - at the thrift stores (don't tell my kids tee hee)
  • Using thrift store glass jars to store my grains, sugar, tea etc.
  • Put old high school long sleeve T's in my husband's work shirt pile so he can wear them as undershirts this winter.

What about you? How do you practice reconomics?

Check out Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays for more great ideas.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Check out the great giveaway at KitchenStewardship

Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship is giving away Soapnuts!

If you’d like to try soap nuts for washing laundry (or anything else in your house), TWO WINNERS will each receive a 4 oz. (40 load) Soap Nuts AND an EXTREME 18x Soap Nuts Laundry Soap 1 oz. trial size.

These are all natural and can be used in all washers even my fancy schmancy HE washer.

Go here to enter.

I just love giveaways don't you????

Repost: Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup

Crockpot Spicy Potato Soup
Makes 6-8 Servings

1lb ground beef, or bulk sausage, browned. (I have used ground buffalo also, may try Quorn)
4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
1 small onion, chopped
3 - 8oz. cans tomato sauce
Salt and pepper liberally (1-2tsp's each)
hot pepper sauce to your liking (1/2 to 1 tsp usually) or a roasted sweet chipotle sauce for a different flavor.

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Add enough water to just cover everything.
Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high for 5 hours until potatoes are tender.

I sometimes throw in some sliced celery and carrots also. Depends on how much time I have to put it together and whether I have them both on hand.

I really like this simple, cheap, gluten free, milk free, beef free (if use alternatives) soy free and all around Ok for all our various dietary needs.

submitted to Life as Mom:Ultimate Recipe Swap:Soup's On! and Life as Mom:Ultimate Recipe Swap: Where's the Beef? (oops - didn't mean to do that! - almost a double post, sorry)

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bang Bang Chicken

I just posted on The Rock Spot how to shred chicken without a knife, a fork or even your fingers. I will give you a hint, it involves a ziploc baggie and a rolling pin. Go here and check it out - it is so worth it! I also have it linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Pear Cobbler -Oh My!

I love pears. They are scrumptious! This pear cobbler is sure to become one of your favorite ways to serve fresh pears, I know it will be mine.

Pear Cobbler

2 cups sliced, fresh pears

2 cups sugar, divided

1 stick butter

3/4 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

Mix pears with 1 cup sugar and let stand. Put stick of butter in a 2 quart casserole and place in a 325 degree oven until melted. Combine all dry ingredients, including the 2nd cup of sugar. Mix well. Beat egg and add to milk. Slowly combine with dry mixture to make a batter. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon pears on top of batter. Do not stir. Bake for 1 hour. Can serve hot or cold. Whipped Cream or ice cream is delish on top!

I have not messed with this recipe yet - but I think next time I would use a little less sugar.

This post was submitted to Blessed with Grace's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. And Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday. Go check out all the great recipes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bringing on Fall

It is chilly out - 56 degrees to be exact. Fall is here! I love fall, actually I love the change of seasons - fall to winter, winter to spring, spring to summer and summer to fall. There is so much to love about each. I am grateful that I live where that happens.

I have gotten out my fall/halloween plates. I have an impressive collection of seasonal plates. My house has a beautiful plate rail in the kitchen that I have always used. But this year I am going for a more simple look and have left it empty. So, what to do with all those small plates - dessert size? Well we are using them. That is right. I looked at the back and they are all dishwasher and microwave safe. Duh, they are supposed to be eaten off of - not just looked at. I was needing to get rid of my melamine plates and the best part is these are real plates, not plastic. YEAH! One more way to not bring more plastic in. (How frugal and earthy crunchy is that!)

I have brought out the blankets, added the fall color pillows and put away the summer vases. We have pumpkins and gourds. I have stored the summer table cloths and brought out the fall ones.

I have put away my dh's work shorts and brought out the sweatshirts and heavy socks. I have put away my swimsuit and gotten out my sweaters. (and done the same for my kids)

We are starting to eat apples with a vengence - applesauce, apple cake, apple crisp, apple pie. YUM!

It is football, volleyball, band and crosscountry season. There is something to do and somewhere to go almost every day.
Oh, and I am starting to think about Christmas and Christmas gifts. Yes this is a fall tradition. At least in my head!
What do you do to bring on Fall?
This post was submitted to 11th Heaven's Homemaker Monday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things I wish I knew then that I know now

Way back in the olden days when I was a brand new mommy in the late 80's early 90's there wasn't any internet to speak of. At least not in every home, on your phone and there were no laptops that I remember. I was a product of the 80's - more more more things. My Mom didn't can, didn't garden, only sewed to decorate and fed us all (except my oldest brother) formula, canned and boxed foods and diapered most of us with Pampers. She was and is an awesome mother and cook and is able to make some amazing meals. But she loved the convenience, she had 9 children after all.

So, when I started my family I followed suit. Being unable to nurse (long story but trust me when I say I almost starved a baby trying) I went straight to formula. Soy because it didn't cause my babies to be as fussy. I did try cloth diapers for my oldest but was ridiculed out of the room by my "modern" family. This was before all these great new diapers - just a white rectangle and plastic pants.

What I really wish I had done differently however, was the way I fed my family. I am not a great cook, not even a good one so it was much easier to open that box, thaw that meal, throw some nuggets on a pan. Well now their tastebuds are used to all that good stuff crap. They balk at homemade. They want their frozen meals, their canned soup, and please no whole wheat anything. And oatmeal - gross! Even yummy veggies get noses turned up at them.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have:
  • nursed - there are drinks that up your milk supply
  • cloth diapered and cloth wipes
  • made all my baby food from scratch - giving them lots of different veggies
  • fed them healthy breakfasts instead of cereal and poptarts
  • never gone down the skim milk aisle or the margarine tub lane
  • made many more things homemade - nuggets, pancakes, pizza, cookies etc.
  • offered many more fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis
  • water - let them drink water when they were thirsty
  • served them more eggs, whole milk, real butter, maple syrup, honey, fruits and veggies, I would have cooked with expeller pressed Olive Oil and Coconut Oil, cooked more whole grains and NEVER EVER let nutrasweet products in my home.
Well, I can't go back. I can only go forward. Slowly, slowly we are eating healthier. Sometimes it seems excrutiatingly slow. But then I remember how far we have come:
  • Real butter
  • Fruits and veggies are often the snack for the day
  • Whole milk (still balking at organic or raw)
  • Healthier breakfasts - no poptarts anyhow.
  • More eggs in our diet
  • Real Half and Half for my husband's coffee
  • Real cups and plates - no plastic or melamine
  • Real napkins
  • Thermometer set at 67 in the winter and turned off in the summer
  • Cleaning rags are all ripped up unusable clothing
  • Cooking more and more from scratch
What advice would you give to a new mommy??

This was submitted to Frugal Fridays at - go check out all the other great ideas.
Updated to say I submitted this to Food on Fridays with Ann Kroeker. Go check out the great postst there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fun Giveaway at 11th Heaven!

Here is a giveaway I am hoping to win! we would love a little variety in our breakfast!

11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven is giving away nearly $40 worth of gourmet bread mix! It will seem like your spent HOURS in the kitchen making treats like this...

...but it only takes minutes! To enter, click HERE!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cookies and Cream

Today I made some gluten free, milk free, soy free chocolate chip cookies from a mix. I substituted crisco for butter - the container said it was milk free and then said "add 8TBS of butter "HHMPF!" They must not realize that butter is MADE from milk?! Anyhow, said cookies were so dry my cookie lovin' 4 year-old couldn't even down one with a glass of milk she was dipping it into.

I paid a lot of money for the mix and didn't want to pitch the cookies. I considered crumbling them and using as a pie crust but then inspiration hit. I made icecream sandwiches with them. I used ricecream for Joe's and everyone else's was regular old vanilla. I have to admit, I was a little leary - my kids can be picky. Tonight my oldest daughter came looking for hers - she was home when I made them. She thought it was pretty tasty.

Would I make them again? NOT the cookie itself but the concept absolutely!

Homemade Icecream Sandwiches

Bake chocolate chip cookies - use the recipe on the bag if you want.
Let icecream soften.
For each 2 cookies, spread a fairly generous amount of icecream on one, top with second cookie. You can at this point roll the cookie's edge in something fun like those little candies you sprinkle on icecream, Wrap individually in Saran Wrap. Put in freezer for at least an hour.

I made it with chocolate chip but I bet it would be yummy with a peanut butter cookie also, and chocolate icecream!

I am linking this to Works for Me Wednesday.

Cloth Momma Pad Package

I just discovered a lovely blog - The Cottage Homestead, she is giving away a cloth momma pad package. Along with the Keeper it is a frugal step I would love to start. Hoping I win ;0)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Puffed Pancakes

I have been searching for different breakfast options. My kids are too old to suddenly like oatmeal after having free reign on sugary breakfast cereals their whole lives. I came across this oven pancake recipe here and tried it out this morning. You definatly want to spend some time at this lovely woman's blog - she has the most amazing "pantry" I have ever seen.

This is the original recipe, which I followed to the letter - something I rarely do. Oh, it puffed up beautifully. What I didn't notice until I had poured the batter into the pie tin was that there was no sweetener in it. My boys thought I had made pizza for breakfast. Next time I make it I will put a little something sweet in the batter. I liked it as is but my kids expected a little bit more sweet in their "pancakes". My comments below are in purple!

Puffed Pancake

3 TBSP butter (I used 3 but wonder if 2 would have been enough - there was a lot of butter)
3 eggs (powdered eggs will not work for this)
2/3 cup milk (reconstituted powdered is fine)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar
Thawed frozen blueberries, canned peaches, canned pears, fresh berries, or your topping of choice. (I made an apple/pear topping by cooking 2 apples and1 pear in water with butter and brown sugar added)

Some of my kids skipped the topping and put syrup on them, the ones with the fruit topping added cinnamon and sugar to theirs.

Preheat the oven to 450. Melt the butter in a 9-inch pie pan (I use a glass one) in the oven (watch that it doesn’t burn).
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and milk, then sift in the flour, whisking it until well combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Remove the pie pan carefully from the oven and pour in the mixture. On a low shelf, bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Remove from the oven. Serve filled with fruit. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thoughts for next time: add a sweetener to the batter, would also taste good as a breakfast pizza with sauce and cheese and maybe eggs all on top.

I wonder do you always follow a recipe exact or do you tweek it from the beginning?
I think this will become a winner at my house.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Getting up Early

I am not a morning person. I love my pillow and could and have slept till noon on any given day. But I am a MOM and Moms aren't supposed to sleep in. So for 20 years I have gotten up WITH my kids. (and sometimes they got up WITHOUT me - they are very self sufficient children) It was hard. We were all crabby; not enough time to eat a decent meal, get dressed, say our prayers and get out the door.

This last couple weeks I have been getting up BEFORE my kids and husband. Somewhere between 5 and 5:30. This has been life altering! I am not exaggerating. I get up, get dressed, say my prayers and make a nutritious breakfast. I am ready as they come down. I can visit with them. Help keep them on track. Get them all out the door on time. My next plan is to add exercise to the morning.

This helps me to save money - homemade is cheaper, and be a little crunchy -I am using organic free range eggs to feed the kiddo's.

This works for me! Added to WFMW!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Staying Home - Frugal, Crunchy and Oh so HARD!

Tiny Tip Tuesday

I have a confession to make. I LOVE to eat out. Fast food, family restaurants, chains, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Mexican - it doesn't matter I love it. There is something so wonderful about being served.
Why should I refrain?
  • First there is that unbelievably expensive drink that I so want with my meal. I mean, for heavens sakes I am "treating myself".
  • Second is the price, we all know that I could make it myself for a whole lot less.
  • Third is the calories. Somehow the food is 3 or 4x more fattening than what I can make at home. (Not always but usually)
  • Fourth is the fact that I have to drive there. To be honest my favorite place to eat is 22 minutes away and I rarely have a reason to be on that side of town. So, waste of gas and environmentally it is a loser.
  • Fifth, especially with Fast Food it is so unbelievably unhealthy - calories, bad fats, lack of any real nutrition. There is no redeeming quality for french fries. "Hi, my name is Christy and I am addicted to french fries".
So, my friends, SAVE the world, SAVE your $$, and SAVE your health. Stay home and eat your own fabulously wonderful food!

Join me in my goal of eating out only rarely - instead of multiple times a week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yummy Meatloaf

I made meatloaf tonight with ground turkey - it turned out surprisingly delish! I posted the recipe on the Rock Spot here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Delicious Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather your ingredients:
2 cups oats
3/4 cup flaxseed-crushed
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mixed nuts - crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (didn't have any - used regular)
approximately 8 oz. dried fruit cut up

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Then, mix the nuts, oats, and sunflower seeds. Toast them in a dry pan on the stove stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned. When they are toasted add the flaxseed for just a minute - watch out it burns quickly.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.
  • Put the brown sugar, honey, grapeseed oil, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
  • By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit.
  • Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.
  • Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.
  • Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.
  • Then, open the waxed paper …
    And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.
  • Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.

I got my inspiration from this post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A blogaversary party over at "Like a warm cup of coffee" and your invited!

To celebrate her blog's one year blogaversary Sarah Mae is giving away oodles of great stuff. Go to her blog "Like a warm cup of coffee" and check it out!

Personally I think the party is for me since May 20th is my birthday. I am just guessing!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Popsicles

Today I am participating in Frugal Fridays at - you will want to pop on over and see all the other great tips!

One of my favorite things of summer is Popsicles. I love me some Popsicles. But with 8 Popsicle lovers in the house I have discovered some wonderful ways to make them cheaply and with a modicum of healthiness.

Freeze lemonade or fruit juice or Koolaid in ice cube trays or a Popsicle mold or small plastic cups to make yummy treats for your family.

You can freeze gelatin in ice cube trays and then use them as ice cubes in punch - it doesn't water down the drink.

You can mix one cup of fruit juice and one cup canned or fresh fruit in a blender. Put in a container and freeze. You can add sticks when it is about half way frozen, then continue to freeze.

Another yummy idea is to blend 1 sliced banana with one tsp vanilla, fruit chunks and one cup of plain yogurt. Pour into cups and freeze. Homemade frozen yogurt!

Watermelon treats are made with equal parts seedless watermelon, OJ, and water blended and then frozen in small cups.

Finally, freeze grapes - individually - these taste almost like candy they are so delicious.

Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unimportant Favorite Things Meme

I have been tagged for a meme - and like the dear lady that tagged me over at A Real Momma's Day Book - I only know one other blogger. Well, we will see if I get the courage by the end of this post to tag some perfect strangers!

My Six Unimportant Favorite Things

The smell of a clean body right out of the shower or bath. I love the smell of babies, big kids and especially my husband when they are squeaky clean.

Sushi - I love all things sushi -ish. Real sushi, maki rolls, sashimi, edamame, wasabi, ginger, white rice, fried rice yum yum yum!

Garage Sales - I guess with the economy the way it is heading this may become an important favorite thing, but for now I just love to go and dig through other peoples stuff and hope to find a treasure. In the early days of my marriage I clothed my kids from there, bought lots and lots and lots of knickknack/decorating things. When I homeschooled I bought hundreds of children's books for mere pennies. I have a library as good as a school library. Seriously.

Books - I am addicted to books. How to books, school books, religious books, recipe books, get thin yesterday books, science, math, youth books, dang near anything that isn't adult fiction.

Movies - I love to go to the movies at the theatre and buy me some plain popcorn and a huge diet coke and lose myself in the world of make believe. At home I can't sit still long enough to watch a movie. Always something that needs done. But at the theatre - I have paid and I get to enjoy!

Lilacs - I love the smell. I am in heaven during lilac season. You will see me randomly sniffing a bush. I have fantasies of stopping and cutting off branches of big bushes I pass. Just to have the smell in my car.

Out on a limb here - I tagged MommaB - check out her giveaway while you are there! I also tagged Sarah at Real Life, and my friend at The Truth Will Set You Free

One last thing -- the rules. Mention the person who tagged you, list your six Unimportant Favorite things, and then tag six other bloggers. (I know I only tagged 3 but they are all wonderful!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

What Do You do with Leftover Porkchops?

There are 9 people living in my house. Sometimes there are 9 people eating dinner - sometimes there are 4 or 5. It is hard to gauge things like pork chops - which everyone loves. The other evening I cooked for 9 and only 5 ate. That leaves 5 leftover pork chops (Doug eats 2 when he is home).
What to do - First I cut up 2 and made pork and bean soup. Then I made pork fried rice, and with the last 1.5 chop I made bbq pork. Everything I used was just hanging out in the fridge, freezer or pantry - yea!

Pork and Bean Soup

Carrots - sliced thin and little
Celery - same
1/2 onion chopped small
fry in extra virgin olive oil until soft
add about a tsp of chopped garlic
To this I added about a cup of navy beans and 1.5 cups blackeyed peas 2 cups of water, chicken flavored soup base, and veggie flavored soup base. I added 1 cup of brown rice then bring to a boil, I then added a glug of white wine (1/4 cup maybe) and a handful of spinach. Cook until spinach is soft and remove from stove. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This is really good - all leftovers or things that I needed to use up!

Pork Fried Rice

2 cups cooked brown rice - cooled.

Celery, carrots chopped small - fry in evoo.
I then added some frozen mixed mushrooms and some frozen pearl onions.

At this point, take 1 egg and scramble it - make it very thin pancake like then chop up small.

I added a little chopped garlic when the carrots were softish, then I added 2 big handfuls of bean sprouts. Over this I poured about a 1/4 cup white wine 2tbs Pad Thai sauce. When the beans were cooked I added the brown rice and cut up pork chops. Over this I poured maybe 1-2 TBS of sesame oil. When this was all heated through I removed one serving for Joe (he can't have soy) then splashed a little soy sauce on top, stirred and served -yummmy!

BBQ Pork
Cut up whatever amount of leftover pork you have into small pieces, dump BBQ sauce over. Warm. Serve on buns. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
I realize these are not real recipes - nothing was measured, everything just dumped in. However, I hope you can see how delicious food can come from humble beginnings. The bonus is it is all gluten free (I used tamari which is made from soy not wheat) soy free (without the tamari) milk free and the cost was almost free because everything was just hanging around the kitchen without a real purpose.
"This post included in Real Life's Your Life Your Blog"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Granola - Homemade Yummy-ness!

I made the most delicious homemade granola the other day. I posted the recipe over at
The Rock Spot. It is definitely worth clicking to try!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5 Minutes for Mom's Mother's Day giveaway

Mothers Day 2009

Over at 5 Minutes for Mom they have a fabulous list of giveaways for Mother's Day.
You will have a chance to win prizes such as:

An HP Mini 1000 PC
Purses from Coach and Elliot Lucca
A Kodak Wireless Digital Frame
A Kodak Digital Camera
A Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray Pride and Prejudice gift pack
Jewelry from Things Remembered
Crock-Pot® Smart-Pot® Slow Cooker
and more…

I so have my fingers crossed!! Go check it out!

Flies Flies Everywhere

The weather is warmer and with it comes those pesty annoying gross flies. We always seem to have a bajillion of them flying around my house.

After making sure my screens were in working order, my trash cans dusted with borax and any containing food have lids, be certain all counters and floors are kept "food free", made sure the compost is taken out daily, and my supply of flyswatters is handy and in use I still have too many flies.

I was thinking about buying some flystrips but then had a lightbulb moment....I bet I could make these. Without chemicals - cheaper than what I can buy at the hardware store.

I checked out several posts about them and came up with the following "recipes"

1.Combine equal parts honey, sugar and water in a saucepan.

2. Boil the mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick.

3. Remove from heat and let cool

4. Cut strips of brown packing tape, punch a hole on one end and loop a piece of string through the hole.

5. Dip the strips in the thick honey mixture and hang outside to dry, about 30 minutes.

6. Hang the strip in the area of worst infestation, and replace often.

Homemade Fly Paper
1/4 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1. Cut 4 or 5 long strips about 2 inches wide from brown paper bags. (don't forget to loop a piece of string through it so you can hang the thing!)

2.Mix the ingredients in a bowl and spread it on the strips with a knife.

3.Hang the strips over a bowl to catch drips.

I discovered that any sugary sweet mixture will attract them. Many people suggested using a 2 litre bottle with holes punched around the neck with a little water, sugar and a banana peel, hanging from a tree for outside troubles.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Makigami -

Makigami, I believe can be the wave of the future. This gentleman discovered a way to make art with tightly rolled paper that is soaked in a solution of warm water. It becomes pliable and can be used in many forms. What began as an art project has exciting possibilities. He has already made disposable pens. He envisions that:

Applications for this new material are not limited to disposable pens. Virtually any product can be made either entirely from Makigami, or with some parts made from it. Possible future Makigami products include auto parts, aviation parts, marine parts, indoor furniture, sports equipment, children’s toys, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, mop, broom and other handles, and many more.

I too am excited for the possibilities. This "material" biodegrades in 3 months. It isn't harmful to animals - or children for that matter. It uses recycled paper. It would be incredibly inexpensive to produce. A winner on all fronts!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!