Category Archives: Recipies

Cleaning Up

I don’t really understand allowance. Maybe, I am mean. Maybe, it’s just the ultra tight budget we live on. Whatever the case, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t ever recall any time in life when you get paid for nothing, right? Except when you breath a sigh of relief as you go past Broadway, turn the corner, and collect $200. Then there is FREE PARKING. You gotta love that.

Around here, my kids do chores and always will do chores. There is no payment for them. They are expected because they live here and we are a family and all help pitch in to make the household run.

A few weeks ago, I told them that they now had somewhat unlimited earning potential in the form of Quarter Chores. I will offer them during the day at random times when I need help and they are free to do them or not. They are also free to come and ask me if I need help or any quarter chores done. {The neighbor kids also have been known to help out with Quarter Chores. The word on the street got out that I am payin’.}

It has been fascinating to watch how they all handle this. The chores, mind you, are maybe 10-15 minutes tops. Little things. Only one of my children has grabbed a hold of the fact that a little bit over and over adds up to a lot. {I need to learn that lesson too}. It was really humorous the other day to see that my oldest figured out if he did one quarter chore each day, he could have $7 per month. Kinda like allowance. Oh, light bulb moments. How I live for them.

So, I figure it is teaching them discipline and hard work. They have the ability to earn and save. It’s all on their shoulders. Kinda like life, right? I realize that .25 cents is hardly “worth it” to them to help out. Maybe they will learn the value of hard work. Maybe I’ll just constantly be at a shortage for quarters.

If you are in the need for quarters, come visit. I have a list waiting…

chores

 

After several weeks of no menu planning, it felt good to sit down and get my meals all squared away for the next couple of weeks.

January Meal Plan

January Recipes on Pinterest- All in one place so that I can easily find them!

I just recently bought this ecookbook. It’s pretty fantastic. I am excited to try a couple of new recipes (that are on my menu plan) from it this month. Freezer meals, healthy food, crock pot. I’m in :)

 

Today we cleaned up the shaggy heads of my four cuties. We drive about an hour to get hair cuts. I know that is kinda crazy, B U T…. it’s worth it to me. Low key, non snobby salon, adorably nice entertaining people in salon, and ridiculously cheap prices {$5 a kid, no lie. We were there 2.5 hours and she gave them the royal treatment}, plus insanely talented stylist. That’s my perfectly normal explanation. We make an adventure of it. Hair Cut Day.

My littlest. His first hair cut and his first lollipop which he kept yelling “mmm dandee”  for candy and not because he thought it was dandy.

Yes, my heart broke a bit.

Before.

Haircut1

 and after. The curls stayed! Which is good because if they had left, I might have cried in the salon. Crisis averted.

Haircut2

 mmm I am so glad I get to squish this little monster every single day. I freaking love him.

mommybaby

Seriously, how did these kids get so big and how many times can I say that?

Haircutcollage

 and dear sweet girl, can I please have some of that gorgeous hair? After all, I did go through labor for you. It hurt really bad and I think it would be only fair. Thank you. Muah.

Haircut5

Jaime’s magical chair. I’m going to buy this girl a pony one day. She’s the hair whisperer and we love her.

emma

Happy Wednesday.

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Pancakes That Fly and Amazing Dip

On March 18th of this year, my family embarked on a ten day challenge to eat unprocessed food only. Sounded fun to me. I like a challenge. It changed our pantry…permanently.

WE DID IT

I wish you all knew me, like come over first thing in the morning when I have no make up and I’m in yoga pants and have a hair do like a monster. BECAUSE then you would know and I mean KNOW how big of a deal this change is. IF we are internet friends only then you are going to just have to take my word for it, but please do. It’s something to consider. I’m not one of those born healthy eaters, quite the contrary. I’m a convert, through and through.

*homemade granola, popcorn, and King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour sit in giant mason jars now on my counter.

For years I wanted to eat healthier but couldn’t really wrap my head around it all. Last year I read and studied Made to Crave multiple times and led studies on it.. Then I stumbled upon 100 Days of Real Food and it all just clicked.

*fruit bowl for the fridge. We like our apples cold around here.

You see the food that appears healthy a lot of times, dare I say most of the time, is not. Salads at fast food restaurants? You might wanna read the label. Apple slices in a drive through? You might wanna read that one too. It shocked me.

I have had a lot of questions about the changes in the way we eat now. A LOT! The thing that I hear myself saying on a regular basis is this-just take the time to understand the food you are eating by reading the label and doing some research. At least then you can make an informed decision. That decision is up to you.

READ LABELS!

It’s true what they say, if you struggle to pronounce it, don’t eat it.

*the large majority of my shopping now consists of unpackaged fresh items of all kinds.

As thousands of people rallied this week via Facebook and at local restaurants I giggled to myself at home. I did not support the appreciation day at a certain chicken establishment, but it was not because of my views about the definition of marriage. I sat this one out because of my views about what I want to feed myself and my family. I’ve come a long way. I have a long way still to go. There is always something new to learn.

*toddler breakfast

As I was preparing my 1.5 year old’s breakfast this morning of whole wheat organic waffles, fresh organic strawberries and papaya, organic cream cheese, and homemade granola, I giggled again. This time because I thought back to eleven years ago. My older two children were just 3 and 2. I was a new mom of two and very on the go. Many mornings breakfast consisted of McDonald’s pancakes. I would drive through NOT in a minivan but rather a Grand Jeep Cherokee and I would give just a couple of dollars to the worker in exchange for hot “fresh” pancakes. These pancakes were always too hot for little mouths and so the air conditioning went on high. High enough to make me feel like I was a supermodel in the middle of a wind blown photo shoot. I would toss my hair as I held those nasty pancakes in the blast and then frisbe style toss them to the back to kids in their car seats. Oh this was ritual and the kids LOVED it. They thought I was the bestest mom ever. I was. I was feeding them hot “homestyle” pancakes, entertaining them, and teaching them to catch. All at the same time. I just might rock.

* I spent birthday money on cute tupperware with scrolly designs on the side for extra cuteness .  1-1.5 hours is spent immediately after grocery shopping to prep food for the week. It’s a MUST DO for me. The only way I pull off 3 meals and 2 snacks a day for four kids eating like this.

Things are different now. We have favorite new recipes like this and this and this. I make granola. I own an apron. I know what Tahini is and I can tell you the parts of a wheat berry.

BUT

The most important thing is I feel better, like pretty fabulous. Fabulous enough to break a 20 year addiction to caffeine and to be able to sit in a Krispy Kreme and not even want one. Can you imagine????

AND

Remember I told you I interviewed with a prior New York Times Journalist for an upcoming book about unprocessed food in America? NOW, She’s coming to visit us! To our house! To meet us and see our kitchen and how we roll….

* This is in our fridge at all times as well. I have learned in order to change habits it’s gotta be easy. My kids can grab this EASILY! It has a tupperware lid so it stays fresh. **Dip recipe below.

What fun to be involved in a very small way in a project like that!

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends!

Be healthy!

*For more information you can check out my pinterest board . I just started a board exclusively for healthy eating resources.

**Amazing Dip. This dip is so easy and so yummy. We have been making it since I was a little girl. Other than the mayonnaise, it fits into healthy eating quite nicely, as long as you eat it in moderation. I will figure out what to do about the mayo in time, but for now I am o.k. with it. My kids eat a ton of veggies every day now. Happiness!

2 t Beau Monde

2t Parsley

2t Dill Weed

2t Minced Onion

1 cup Mayo

1 cup Organic Sour Cream

Mix and refrigerate! {make sure and mix the sour cream and mayo together first and then add the spices, otherwise it gets all clumpy and lame. Lame dip is not good.}

Ridiculously good I tell you.

I taught my 12 year old to make it and now she is the resident dip maker around here!

Enjoy!

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Blueberry French Toast

It’s all about the ingredients, my friends.

Go as unprocessed as possible. Go no added sugar. Go organic.

If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST

Honey Whole Wheat Bread from Great Harvest (just five simple ingredients)

Organic Eggs

Organic Blueberries

Wild Blueberry Fruit Spread

Organic whole milk

100% pure Maple Syrup

Cinnamon

Give your bread a nice little dip in a mixture of a couple of eggs with a dash of milk. Let it soak for a bit.

Tip~ the Magic Bullet is fantastic way to mix up those eggs really good and quick. This way you can avoid the stringy egg white thing that tends to make my children freak out.

Place your bread on a hot griddle. You can smather the griddle with a bit of real butter or a spritz of Olive Oil, to keep from sticking.

While the bread is cooking, sprinkle some Cinnamon on top.

When your bread is cooked to your liking, place on a cute plate. I usually put one slice and then spread a layer of Blueberry spread. Follow with another slice on top. Drizzle with syrup and garnish with Blueberries.

This is a fantastic occasional quick busy night dinner, or a lazy Saturday morning breakfast. This has replaced our Bisquick pancakes, butter, and Mrs. Butterworth syrup with powdered sugar “meal”. It is WAY healthier than that and about a million times better tasting, but every bit as quick and easy!

Enjoy!

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Nectarine Basil Pizza

I have a slight non-secret love affair with pizza.

This recipe is kinda to die for…. I modified it a wee little bit.

I purchased the whole wheat pizza crust from Whole Foods for $1.29. It’s my very favorite find as of late at that store. It freezes well too, just fyi. If you are truly looking for a whole wheat pre made crust or dough, make sure and check the ingredients. I have seen several that say wheat, but are enriched wheat, etc. etc.

Ingredients

a fresh nectarine

whole wheat pizza crust

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

mozzerella cheese

shaved parmesan cheese (could use shredded, but I find shaved more fun)

fresh basil

 

Directions

Roll out pizza crust and top with mozzarella cheese. Place slices of your nectarine on top. Finally sprinkle some shaved parmesan around. Place in oven and bake according to your pizza crust instructions.

While baking, place 1/2 cup balsamic in a saucepan on top of the stove and turn to medium high to simmer. Leave until balsamic starts to get noticeably thick. DO NOT BURN. It’s easy to do.

When pizza comes out of the oven, sprinkle on fresh basil.

Finally drizzle on your balsamic and a couple extra shavings of Parmesan to look just that much more fancy.

De-Lish.

~~~~~~~~~~

38. waterfalls

39. babies that say hello to everything

40. air conditioning

41. wisdom revealed

42. Romans 8:28

43. New yoga pants

~~~~~~~My forever in progress Thousand Gifts list.

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Two Week Meal Plan

Since we gave up credit cards three years ago, we are committed to cash only and the grocery store is a place that I can go over budget all to quickly. To avoid this scenario, I began planning meals and snacks, so that I only buy what I need. This keeps me on budget and works like a charm. The added benefit is I no longer hear….”WHAT’S FOR DINNNNNERRRRRRRRR?” The kids can just look at the fridge and see for themselves.

With our new way of eating, I feel like a fish out of water sometimes trying to plan meals. This is only the start of the third month, so I am definitely slowly adding in new recipes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and will continue to add more variety as we go.

My meal plan is nothing fancy. I download a free sample from this site, change up the lame font, and then fill it in accordingly. Once I am done, it is printed out and hangs on the side of my fridge. I have to say that I rarely go in the order of what its actually planned for that day. However, I always use all of the meals and snacks planned and cross them off after we eat that one. It all works out in the end.

Everyday I plan breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. The meals are in bold and the snacks are not.

When I say cereal-it is Shredded Wheat, Oatmeal from scratch not packets!, or homemade granola. The kids almost always add a few frozen blueberries, strawberries, or sometimes a bit of honey or maple syrup. I let them choose whatever they want to do for cereal days.

When it comes to sandwiches- it is grilled cheese, or pb and j, or honey. On occasion, we have sliced turkey.

I don’t deviate from the meal plan if the kids don’t feel like what is listed. They know they can skip it and wait until the next time to eat. I also don’t allow them to eat at any other time except those listed, unless it is carrots. They can always eat carrots, whenever they want, just because I’m nice like that.

Feel free to check out the link below. I am not technically savvy enough to have links on my calendar to the recipes for you. I am pretty impressed that I was able to even attach it! If there is a meal that looks yummy, feel free to ask for the recipe and I’ll get you to it! :)

May2012

How does meal planning look in your house?

 

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Pizza Dinner

How I love Whole Foods. My favorite recent find is their Whole Wheat Pizza Crust. Made with just four ingredients and no sugar!  It is the same crust that they make in their take out foods part of the store. Dough for one large size pizza is just $1.29. It comes fresh and ready to use.

Spritz the pan with a little Olive Oil and I just flatten the dough out with my hands because I am too lazy to get the rolling pin out.

I use Whole Foods pasta sauce for the pizza sauce. It works just yummy and there is no sugar or nastiness to be found.

 Next just apply whatever you have on hand. Tonight it was Mozzarella, some crushed pineapple, and green bell pepper. Yum.

For dessert, I made the kids a parfait with plain yogurt, maple syrup, frozen strawberries, and homemade granola. De~lish.

Add in some corn, salad with cauliflower, and a glass a milk and you have a great quick meal!

Enjoy!

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Flour Tortillas

The technical name is Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas. However, if I call them that, I am afraid that you won’t try them. If you don’t….well, that would be just a shame. Not only will I personally promise you that you will enjoy these melt in your mouth wonders that rival Chevy’s, but you will also acquire a moment of channeling your inner Martha Stewart as you can decidedly cross making tortillas from scratch off of your bucket list.

The original recipe is here. Every single recipe we have tried from her site has had glowing reviews from my family, but this one takes the lead. These babies are awesome. If you want a printable recipe in nice easy english with pretty pictures and thorough directions… go visit Lisa. Otherwise continue on.

2.5 cups whole wheat flour. I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat (sold at Target).

1/2 cup Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water (microwave for about a minute)

In your kitchen aid (with the hook attachment), mix the flour, oil, and salt until crumbly. Leave the mixer on and add the warm water slowly. Mix until smooth (about 3 minutes). Take the dough out and make into a log shape with your hands. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Use your hands again to make each piece into a round smooth ball. Once they are all in shape, gently press down to flatten slightly and cover with wax paper for about 15-60 min.

Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Take a little bit of flour and a rolling pin to get a ball of dough into a circle shape. Don’t obsess over perfection. They are homemade and the odd shapes give character. They all taste the same!

Once hot, spritz the pan with Olive Oil. (Ditch the Pam and get yourself a Misto).

Cook for about 30 seconds on each side until lightly brown.

In my opinion, the next best thing is to slather a “reasonable” amount of real butter upon your hot tortilla, add a bit of sea salt, roll up, observe a moment of silence, and enjoy.

Although, I have made fajitas and tacos as well. You really can’t go wrong here.

Have you watched the scene in What About Bob with the corn? Be prepared for re enactments to follow.

 

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I’m All Grown Up

I remember as a newish bride, having my father in law over for Thanksgiving meal. He is a RIDICULOUSLY GOOD cook. I mean the kind of cook that makes your average french toast turn to something my kids want to drive to Oregon just to go eat it again. So, as we were finishing up getting the turkey dinner on our $99 butcher block table which was sitting on top of our burnt orange shag carpet of our lovely shoebox rental apartment, my father in law offered to make the gravy. DONE! He said “Where are your spices?” um yeah. Isn’t that what the .69 cent packets are for. Don’t they take care of that? I didn’t so much have more than one or two. It was comical. I don’t remember the outcome of the gravy, but I am sure he made it fly.

Today I was in kind of a funk. Post three weeks of sickness around here and I had to pull out the nazi mom card and get everyone back in shape. There was a great deal of protest and I am a little spent. My superman came home from work a bit early and took all four kids to the park. Ahhhh, silence really is golden.

I climbed in bed for awhile and then decided to try cooking dinner in the quiet to see what that was like. We are on this 10 days of eating real food challenge and on the menu for tonight was tacos. Since those nasty for you, but yummy taco seasoning packets, were out for sure, I googled home made taco seasoning.

1 T chili powder

1/4 t garlic powder

1/4 onion powder

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 t dried oregano

1/2 t paprika

1 1/2 t ground cumin

1 t sea salt

1 t black pepper

Seems doable, but no way did I have all those spices. I decided to take inventory and see how many of them I was missing. As I was pulling them out, one by one  (and perhaps the silence was taking some weird toll on me) I suddenly had this overwhelming realization of what a grown up I had become. I had all of them. Every one. I mean I am a girl who can pull multiple spices out of her cupboard and whip up a batch of homemade taco seasoning for her family at a moment’s notice? A long way from the seasoningless turkey gravy days. Right?

Growing up is just plain weird. Nothing can prepare you for it. Honestly, I think that is true. I don’t feel F O R T Y. I feel 26 still. I look in the mirror and realize that ain’t true. I look outside and no longer see my jeep in the driveway, but my minivan. I look at my first born man child who is now a cm or so taller than me and think there is no way I can be responsible for him.

I think sometimes of what it will be like to be the grandma at a Christmas celebration. To hold the wrinkly hand of my partner in crime and look at hopefully the many grandchildren running around. Its just weird to think they will be the children of my children. It is so hard to wrap my head around that. It seems so scary and so magical all at the same time.

Everyone returned from the park and the silence was again replaced with a chattering chubby baby boy, overexcited kids, and a very calm yet stern daddy. I love the silence. I do. However, I am so glad its not permanent. I’m so thankful for my noisy, adventurous, passionate, and mildly chaotic crew.

I am a grown up. I’ve lived a lot of years and Lord willing have a lot left. I am thankful for how I have grown and the growing I have yet to do. I pray I never take it for granted and if I do, that the Lord will remind me, even through something as insignificant as taco seasoning. WHICH, by the way, was absolutely fantastic.

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Jen’s Taco Soup.

I went running one night with one of my dearest friends ever. When it was over, I tasted her her dinner. Then I did what any good friend would do. I got me a bowl and stayed for dinner. This soup is delicious. I asked her the name, TACO SOUP. However, that sounds boring and since she introduced us (yes, me and the soup) I am now renaming it Jen’s Taco Soup. Please try it! Its so yummy. Oh, and please call it Jen’s Taco Soup. That would just make me smile.

JEN’S TACO SOUP

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey

1 can Rotel

1 can corn

1 can water ( I use the empty corn can)

1 package Taco Seasoning

1 package Ranch dressing

Optional ( I don’t like beans. So, I make it without the next two ingredients)

1 can beans

1 can kidney beans

flour tortillas (to eat on the side)

chips (to dip in the soup, of course)

cheese (to garnish the tippy top of your bowl)

Directions

Brown the ground turkey.

Dump all of the ingredients in a pot. Use all the liquid in the can of corn (and beans). Cover and simmer for 45 min~ish.

Laddle yourself a bowl and then top with some cheddar cheese, if you like.

Eat with some warmed up flour tortillas, or chips. A side note on the chip. Jen says that this brand is the perfect chip for this soup. I happen to agree. Plus, she can say that because after all, it is her soup and everything!

ENJOY!

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Hawaiian Chicken and Pizza

Another Pinterest recipe. It’s a keeper.

My two favorite features of this recipe are the following:

1. it involves the crock pot

2. it provided 2 dinners

 

Hawaiian Chicken

1 bottle of Archer Farms Hawaiian style Bbq sauce

(its made with pineapple, orange, and mango)

4 chicken breasts

1 can pineapple

Dump 2/3 of jar of bbq sauce, chicken, and half can of pineapple into the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. Serve with baked potato, or rice and bell peppers.

Seriously, that’s it.

Make sure you keep an extra chicken breast. Shred it up and put it in the fridge. See below!

Hawaiian Pizza

1 Boboli Crust

Pizza Sauce

Mozzerella/Cheddar Cheese

Yesterday’s 2nd half of can of pineapple

Yesterday’s cooked chicken breast

Assemble and bake according to package directions.

(It’s Yummy with bell peppers and parmesan cheese too)

We put the cheese on top of the chicken and stuff, but it’s in there!

Enjoy!

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