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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.