Sunday, November 11, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Through not very much reflection, I've realized that I've been slowly moving the dynamic of the blog away from food, and writing more about our family life and what the children are doing. However, from some of the feedback that I've gotten, those are some of the best stories. Okay, that's fine, I like writing about my family--sort of like an online journal.
I've also realized that this was always my project and I can do whatever I want with it. I started this blog as a feeler to see if there would be enough interest in a cook-book for low-budget families. I think that there is; during the weeks that I was posting recipes and stories regularly there was some pretty good page views and positive feedback.
So my next project is to try to organize some of the recipes and stories into a book. We are looking at self publishing, and I'm even thinking about offering an ebook version. If you'd like, please let us know which were your favorite posts and pictures, and we'll try to include them in the book.
This has been (aside for getting married and having kids) the biggest adventure that I've undertaken, and it has been so much fun. I've learned a lot, and struggled some, and now I think that this blog has reached it's fruition. Now, don't think that means that we are going to stop writing, or discontinue this blog. Our plan is to take some time and refocus our ideas, and then start writing along a different line.
We love you all, and we hope that you'll join us in our next adventure!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
Actually, I'm not sure what thoughts are creeping up on me, but I know which thoughts I should be thinking around this time of year. I should be thinking of all of the different ways that our life has changed during this year, the things we've accomplished, the dreams we've abandoned and the blessings that we have.
For instance, at this time last year we had started lessons in Italian. That just didn't last. We were also thinking about getting pregnant again. Mimi was born a few weeks ago.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
|Mim and her godfather. He'd been dancing with |
and she fell asleep.
I'd been in what I was calling "pre-emptive labor" for eight weeks before Mim was born. It's kind of like the training you need to do before you go and run a 5K race--except that when I got to the race part I took a short cut through a briar patch. That's how I give birth; and I'd rather go through eight weeks of labor and an hard, fast delivery than go through a 20hour labor and delivery.
Anyway. I'd woken up Thursday morning with a feeling--the one that says "in the next two days." By dinner time I was mildly disappointed that I hadn't gone into labor yet, but around 8pm I noticed a subtle change in the contractions. They were becoming consistent.
Monday, September 24, 2012
|Sometimes he'll just sit with her.|
I'm officially back to doing everything myself this week. The first week after she was born my youngest sister stayed with us and played that she was Mary Poppins. I didn't have to change the boys diapers all week! And we had arranged with our church to be included in the meal program, and all the little old ladies cooked for us for two weeks. And then we picked up some leftovers after the parish picnic, and have had a few meals at Nick's parents house.
The lady at church who organizes the meals, Mrs. Shoen, brought our first one and she included the recipe with it. That's what I'm giving you today. It was a baked pasta dish called "Mostaccioli" Nick said he's heard of it and had wanted to try it. It was really good!
1 16oz box mostacchioli (a type of noodle)
1 tube Italian sausage --(she used turkey sausage)
1 can Cheddar cheese soup
1 large can pasta sauce
3-4 C shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375degrees. Brown sausage, cook noodles.
Combine everything in a large bowl and mix together. Transfer to 1 large (or 2small) casserole dish(es). Top with more mozzarella and bake covered for 45 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly).
The next post will be the birth story. People have been asking about it, and I haven't forgotten, I've been a little pre-occupied. Right now I have to go put her down--she's been gaining an ounce a day since birth and she can break an arm when she falls asleep on it. I haven't quite figured out what to call her for blogging purposes; I'm thinking either Madam Mim, or Mimi--pulling those from her initials. I'm leaning towards Mimi just because Madam Mim was a bad guy, and our little girl is too sweet and pretty to be associated with her. Thoughts?
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
This is the Liebster Award (as near as I can figure out it an "I love you/love your blog" award of coolness). It is given from one blogger to another and involves a number of random, cool things about them and you. If it is awarded to you, you have to post 11 (or 7) random things about yourself, answer the 11 (or 7) questions asked by the person who tagged you and tag 11 (or 7) bloggers that you like and come up with 11 (or 7) questions for them to answer. And it can only be awarded to blogs with less than 200 followers. It could also be just a fun game for the self promotion of small blogs--I'm okay with that!
I was awarded this from Nick's cousin (and the baby's godfather), Ryan, who writes "The Man Who Would Be Knight" I highly suggest you read it. And I, too, will go with the 7 of everything. Mostly because I don't think I'm in a condition to think of 11 of everything--besides, Ryan only asked 7 questions.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Anyway, I actually followed a recipe this time for my pumpkin creamer (look here!!). It's kind of the same thing that I did last year, I'm not sure if I told you about that adventure, except last year I simmered it. Apparently cooking the creamer isn't necessary. Makes it that much easier! I also did not add the sugar to this creamer; I'm still trying to limit my sugars, so it's better to have the creamer sugar-free and just add it to the coffee as needed. Oh, I forgot the vanilla. It tastes fine without it. Last year my pumpkin creamer kept in the fridge for just under a week, and I had to shake it well every time I wanted to use it.
Friday, August 24, 2012
|Here are some random cute pictures to take up space!|
Then I got a little sick. Very bad timing. And to help the infection go away I've had to cut out anything and everything that my body could remotely turn into sugar. So no pasta, potatoes, bread, fruit or juice, and even some dairy products. The up side is that I'm left on roughly the same diet that Nick is on, so I'm not cooking two menus at each meal. The down side is that I'm about two shades of crazy with a sugar/carb withdraw (only two shades because I let myself have a piece of chocolate cake when we went out for lunch today).
Monday, August 13, 2012
Surprise number two: when I did get up I found a lovely and thoughtful "encouragement" card telling me that this pregnancy will not last forever. It was attached to a pack of bacon!
Surprise number four (I'll come back to three): we found a box on the doorstep (we'll never know why the mailman didn't knock) and inside was a brand-new, jungle print diaper bag and a gift card. Our old diaper bag was ripped, and I'd been using a beach tote bag that was getting a little ratty looking. And jungle print happens to be one of my favorite themes for new babies!
Friday, August 10, 2012
I did not have the panko crumbs, the Adobo spices or the Parmesan cheese. I used regular bread crumbs, and they worked just fine; and I added some shredded carrots for color (and filler) and that also worked beautifully. I forget which spices I added, probably some sage and garlic. This recipe reminds me a lot of the fish cakes that I like to make, except without the mayo (I think the fish needs the mayo to help hold it together), and a lot of people have commented that they either substitute or alternate the fish and zucchini (or use both!).
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Put into the bread pan in this order (unless your machine says otherwise)
4 1/2 C white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4C butter, softened
Set your machine to "Basic Dough" setting and press start.
Lightly grease a 9" square cake pan (I used a 10" pie plate). When dough has finished, place it on a lightly floured surface, punch it down gently and roll it out to a 12" square.
2tbsp butter, melted
2/3C golden raisins
3tbsp chopped candied peel
2tbsp brown sugar
1tsp apple pie spice
Brush the rolled dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the raisins, peel, currants sugar and spice (I used trail mix--minus large nuts and I should have left out the small ones too-- and cinnamon and nutmeg). Roll up the dough, cut into 12 slices and place in the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 400degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they have risen well and are evenly golden. Let them cool in the pan before turning them onto a wire rack to cool further.
1tsp orange flower water
Mix the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, then boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes without stirring, until syrupy. Stir the orange flower water into the glaze and brush onto the warm buns (I used a vanilla icing leftover from some birthday, but they didn't need it).
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The three of us napped today for about two hours, and then we made it outside. I pulled the last of the carrots from the garden while the boys just absorbed the fresh air. Then we came in and I made dinner. I decided that I was going to have roast beef with vegetables. I threw a potato in the microwave (I do not like potatoes in my roast beef) so I'd have a baked potato. Then I sauteed some broccoli, half an onion and a handful of the carrots I'd just pulled. When the vegetables were done I threw in a five ounce can of beef with gravy (I get those at the dollar store for when I need a fast and easy protein meal).
The carrots had a tangy flavor that became sweet when cooked in butter, and they were so good with the beef. Thing One really wants to eat all of the carrots, but I told him that we do need to save some for Daddy, and some for tomorrow. Although, right now he's saying that he's tired and asking me to sit on the couch with him.
Monday, July 30, 2012
It's a good thing I found that recipe, and that it was so very easy to make. And that I happened to have some bananas in the freezer. Today has been one of those days where the boys will only condescend to eat cereal and yogurt. So I had Thing One mix these cookies, and he got two when they were done. I told him he could have more if he finished a small bowl of rice first.
Parenting lesson #425: Bribery is not a sin; use it wisely, and often. The only problem we ran into was that he said he was full half-way through his rice and that he didn't want cookies anymore. And it's not like he's really ruining his dinner or eating badly if he has these cookies instead of dinner, so I don't feel to badly about leaving them out for the both of them to grab later. The only tweaking I did to the recipe was to add roughly 1tsp of nutmeg and 2tsp of cinnamon, and Thing One insisted on adding a spoonful of honey. If we kept bananas and instant oatmeal in stock I'd probably let him make a batch every day. I'd also add chocolate chips, if we had them.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Anyway, I was wasting time one day looking at all of the good food and wishing I wasn't pregnant and that we had money to buy half of the ingredients, and I found a recipe for Churros. I had no idea what Churros were, but they looked really good, so I re-pinned it to my board with the intention of trying it sometime. Then I got the insatiable pregnant craving for something similar to doughnuts, but not quite so. . . I'm not sure, sugar-laden, flour-heavy? I wanted some deep-fried air, but not so American.
I was about to drag out my bread-machine and make some doughnuts again, but I thought I'd look at this recipe and see what it was first. I'm glad I did. I was surprised at how easy they were! Even the chocolate sauce, which I hadn't originally planned to make but ended up making anyway.
Thing One and I ended up cutting the recipe into thirds because I wanted to save some eggs for later, and I didn't figure that I needed 20 churros--which I might have. And I didn't have any chocolate chips for the sauce, but 2tbsp of cocoa powder worked just as well. And I didn't have a pastry bag, so I dropped little spoonfuls into the oil.
Sigh. Every time I see him I'm surprised at how fast he's growing up. I know that it happens, I see it every day, and I know everyone says, "Don't blink--they'll be gone before you know it." But it's so different to watch your own children grow. In a way I'm glad we're having another one because we get to have both our growing little boy, and a tiny baby at the same time.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
|My raw ingredients, I added bacon, a mushroom,|
cheese and some zucchini.
Monday, July 9, 2012
For most of the spring and half of the summer I had been fighting depression. Then, about three weeks ago, it suddenly went away in one great blinding voip. The sudden-ness has left me reeling, and for these three weeks I have been trying to recover both from that and from the depression itself. I have been spending most of my time on the couch reading, or doing slightly mindless crafts--like the rockets I made for the boys.
The boys hate this, and it's understandable; I've been acting like a convalescent. It's been really hard on them, especially since we've been trying to cut back on our excess spending and we haven't been going to air conditioned play-places as often.
I talked to the midwife about this at our last appointment (the baby is doing wonderfully, by the way) and she said not to underestimate the amount that depression can take out of a person and how hard it is to recover. I can tell that I am getting better. I might still be a little slow for a while, but the fact that I thought of this post nearly word for word and needed to write it down is a good sign.
I'm still concerned about how long and hot this summer is going to be, however, now that I don't have that problem hanging over my head I'm more optimistic about surviving; and maybe even having some fun. My prayers go out to all those fighting depression, and I am grateful that I am able to recover as well as I am. Now I'm going to go tickle my children.
Friday, July 6, 2012
|Nick took them out that morning and bought a lot of bubbles!|
|Trying very hard not to take a nap.|
|Extreme sports for toddlers, Head Dunking!|
|. . . .|
|Too much cuteness!!|
|Okay, so this isn't his birthday, it's Father's Day. They had so much fun, and |
since then, everything--even their motorcycles--has become a rocket.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The other day, and by that I mean a few weeks ago, I had a package of ground beef, some potatoes and a can of cream of mushroom soup. I threw those together with some fried onions and half of a green pepper. I wish I could remember what I was thinking when I made this, but the only thing I can remember is being acutely surprised when it came out tasting just like the hash my mom used to make when I was little.
The other dish I made that I've been wanting to write about is the creamed peas that I made. Now, I did not grow up eating or loving creamed peas, that is a new thing. And the odd thing is that Nick and I had been avoiding buying peas because we had each thought that the other hated them, when in reality we would both eat a whole bag of frozen peas by ourselves. So now I'm trying to make sure we have at least two bags of peas in the freezer at all times. With this dinner, I remember that I had cooked the peas in the microwave and then added them to the fried onions and mushrooms, with a generous amount of butter. Then I threw in a few heaping tablespoons of sour cream. It tasted wonderful, it was everything I'd hoped it would be; and I've made it several times since then. The creamed peas go so well with most types of meat, pork, steak, chicken--I've sort of stopped doing ground beef as I cannot finish a whole pound by myself. And a small word about the beer in the picture: It was great! Nick splurged a bit for Mother's Day and this was the one that we compromised on. It's very similar to a Blue Moon, but not quite as sweet. I do recommend this one if you want to try something new. Next time we are going to try the Lager.
The boys need my attention now, and I have promised to take Thing Two shoe shopping with his birthday money (birthday stories later).
Saturday, June 2, 2012
At some point (I forget when) my mom gave me her automatic pasta maker; everyone was going through diet changes at the time, my parents were cutting back on the starches and I must have been pregnant and eating a bowl of pasta every day. After a few years, I finally pulled it out of the closet. I've used it once before and had an understanding of the recipe and the technique. Over the past few weeks I've been under the impression that it would be better to start making my own staple foods, like pasta; besides the crazy feelings of needing to actually do something productive.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I've been taking the boys to the airport a lot this past week, and they've been having a lot of fun. We live in a large town (or small city, I'm not sure which) and it has a small regional airport. The university in town also has an extensive flight program.
On Saturday there was a small conference of Air Force men, and one had flown up in his private plane. He was happy enough to see two small boys so interested in aircraft that he let them sit in his plane. Over the past few days we've seen a number of small business jets, and today we saw a helicopter take off!
We've also seen a lot of fire trucks (not really good outside the station, but still exciting) and many motorcycles. It looks like it's going to be a good summer for little boy adventures!
Monday, May 14, 2012
The day before my birthday I planted a garden. Just a simple, small thing; for different vegetables and one flower. Nick and I have done some research on permaculture and companion planting, and I did the garden with those on mind. The carrots next to the tomatoes and peas, the peas next to the cucumbers--which will grow in the shade of the tomatoes, and marigolds to control the pests and attract bees. And guess what, since I planted it's only stopped raining on the weekends!
The boys and I have been going a little stir crazy because we haven't been able to play outside much, and I'm sure that that's been hard for Nick. He's been wonderful about it though, and lets us go to the indoor play places. I haven't been too sick with this round of storms, just enough to keep me from doing everything I need to do. Like write, and advertise for my shop. But I can tell that the weather is changing, in spite of all this rain, because I am gradually less sick with each storm.
I needed a soup for dinner today. It stated with the recipe on the back of a box of ranch powder. The recipe was for ranch roasted vegetables, just toss assorted chopped veggies with some oil and the ranch powder, and bake. I was going to do that, and remembered that I still had some chicken in the freezer. Then I thought that the broccoli I had was not going to go well with the ranch, not roasted. So I was just going to use some oil and spices, when I remembered that I had some chicken broth in the freezer too. I threw it all together in a casserole dish and baked it till the potatoes were done, about forty minutes I think. It was kind of like a good roast beef, with chicken instead of beef, and enough broth to justify serving it in a bowl--which I did.
This is a picture of the boys when they had some M&M's, I thought Thing Two looked like a chocolate vampire.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
|"Look Mom! It's snowing!"|
Thing One craves attention. Okay, that's normal. He also has a personality type that needs structure. Having a routine provides him with a sense of security; he's not overwhelmed by complete freedom and he knows when to do what. That's more of a problem for me. The only times I have ever been able to keep a schedule were when I was in school or at work.
These are things that I've known about my oldest son since he was about eight months old, and I had the solution figured out then, too. It's amazing how often we can forget things. What am I doing about it this time? We have started school.
Monday, April 16, 2012
I was feeling well for the past week or so, and then we had a storm come through; and I was thrown for quiet a loop. It's the most ironic thing, but I can't wait for summer. I know that I'll be miserable then because of the heat, but at least the spring storms will be over. We did have another baby appointment, and with the exeption of some low blood pressure, everything is going well. The midwife is beginning to suspect that low blood pressure just might be normal for me, and then my mom tells me it runs in her family. Chuckle, chuckle.
Thing One's godmother came over for a few days and watched the boys so I could catch up on some cleaning. I realized that I can always get to within one load of dishes of being caught up, but I never get that last load done. It almost feels like I'm afraid of having the kitchen completely clean! So, it'll probably kill me for the next two days, but I'm going to finish the dishes tonight! And if I actually ask, Nick will vaccum the floor. Then we'll be able to start the spring cleaning.
I inherited a set of dishtowels that some great ancsestor in my mom's family embroidered, and the first one finally fell apart. Really good towels since it has taken thirty-odd years. This one was always a favorite with my sister and I; and despite everything Mom would tell us, we alwasys used this one as an apron instead of for dishes. Maybe that's why it fell apart first. I just couldn't throw the whole thing away, but I'm not sure what I'll do now that I've got it framed.
Oh yeah, the pasta salad. . . . I woke up this morning craving a cold pasta salad. So after this mornings dramatics and remedies, I cooked the pasta, chopped some broccoli, half a green pepper, some grape tomatoes, and shredded some carrots. I fried the chicken with salt, pepper and sage and then chopped it up. I mixed it all together with a generous amount of mayo, more salt and pepper, two tsp. sugar and one tbsp. vinegar. All that it needs now is some fresh, chopped parsley. But it's really good as it is.
Thing One is becoming dramatic again.
Friday, April 13, 2012
It was really good, despite being just thrown together, and I wish I had started it earlier in the day because it was our anniversary, and I had pulled the steak out for the celebration. Nick and I are celebrating four years together, and are looking forward to many more.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
I made pasta alfredo again. I'm kind of excited that I am making it right again, so I've been making it about once a week or so. This time I didn't add enough salt so it tasted somewhat plain, but it was still good. I used onions, mushrooms and brocoli; and the brocoli might have been a little off with the mushrooms. I wanted to add some chicken, but it was another Friday in Lent.
It's been nice enough lately that we've been outside a lot, and we took our dinner outside. The boys eat their pasta without any sauce, and I had set some aside for them before I added it back to the alfredo. They loved eating outside and we're excited about it being warm enough for picnics again.
Monday, April 9, 2012
It was good all by itself, or served with fried liver and onions, like I did one day. The liver I just fried to crisp, and put salt and peppper on the onions. I had the squash and a baked potoato on the side. It was fast, and filling; and would have been cheaper if the squash had been in season.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
I had been feeling particularly bad one day, so Nick asked his mother if the boys and I could come over for a few hours. His brothers would watch the boys and I could get some much needed rest. We stopped by the library on our way there, and played for a little while. Thing One was reading Thomas the Tank Engine books and asked me to make a train out of the blocks they had there. He was upset about not being able to take it with us, but we did get the books.
I'd brought some food with us, and there was a lovely recipe on the back of the pasta box. I had the onions and a can of chopped tomatoes, the recipe also called for spinach, sausage and two types of cheese--none of which I had. I didn't plan on adding the sausage anyway because it was a Friday in Lent, and I figured it would be okay without the spinach and cheeses.
It was supposed to be a baked pasta dish, but I think that was just so all the cheese would melt into it. I just sauted it all together and it was just as good that way. One of my brothers-in-law was wondering if there was something other than tuna sandwiches that he could have for dinner, and I told Mom that if I could add some of her spinach to my pasta then he could have some pasta when it was done.
I also took the liberty of raiding her spice rack, and that worked because the rest of the brothers-in-law also ate the pasta. I added parsley, sage, thyme and garlic. I did not put any cheese on mine; I don't know if the boys put cheese on theirs. I enjoyed my pasta, and the rest I got.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I'm feeling a lot better this morning, so my intention is to write a bunch of things and set them to post automatically throughout the next few weeks or so. Besides, I've actually taken pictures of what I've been cooking and have a bunch of recipes backed up. So here goes!
Back in Feburary I had a craving for some pasta with alfredo sauce. A good alfredo sauce has always been one of my favorite things. When I was working at my last resturaunt job I was constantly experimenting with various vegetables in pasta alfredo. I think one of my best was an horseradish alfredo with roasted asparagus wrapped in proscuitto--soo good! But asparagus is a hit or miss vegetable, and it missed with most of the staff.
Since I left the resturant I've forgotten how to make alfredo sauce. I've been sad about that for the past four years. I finally got it right! I started with nearly half a stick of butter, and lightly sauted some chopped onions, garlic and sage. When the onions were starting to turn brown I added what must have been three cups of milk. I had to use a lot because I had a lot of pasta. I did not let the milk boil, I'm not even sure it simmered for very long, but when it was heated up I added a third of a cup of sifted flour and whisked it in very well. After another minute on the heat it was thick enough. I added the pasta back in with salt and pepper and kept it on the heat just long enough for everthing to be warm all through.
I served it with some carrots and green beans that simmered in salt water, and pork with a sweet and sour sauce (and I forget how I made that, I was focusing more on the alfredo).
We had gone out to the park earlier that day, and stopped for something cold on our way home. Thing One had a dollar that he earned so he could buy some ice cream. He picked out a massive freezer pop, and he was good enough to share it with his brother. They were purple for hours!
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Well, it's been a while since I've posted something here. Partly because when I have thought about putting up a post I mentally chuckle at the insanity of doing eighty million things at once instead of the usual seven hundred ninety nine million. But I finally revived my desire to cook late at night and threw together one of the easiest stir fry dishes in human history.
I wish I had a garden to grow veggies in, but I must be content for the moment with frozen. All this recipe takes is a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, pre-chopped and ready to fry, a third of a stick of butter, a little oil, a pack of imitation crab meat, a half spoonful of sugar, and soy sauce. Fry the veggies first to get them unfrozen, then add the crab meat, sugar, and soy sauce. Pour a dash or two of water in with it all to create a gravy of sorts in the bottom of the pan. Serve and enjoy!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I had a major victory this morning. Since our vacation the boys have been getting up much earlier than they used to, and going to bed earlier. We got up this morning and went shopping. I picked up a butternut squash (which we had while we visited Nicole) so I should have at least one post on that soon, and I found two packages of steak on sale. Real steak, thick and juicy, almost as large as my skillet, and going for only $3 a pack. I put one in the freezer, and cooked the other for lunch.
I fried the steak in a little oil, with salt, pepper and dill; and julienned carrots and onions. I also put some potatoes into the microwave for a quick bake. I ended up cutting the steak into thirds so that Nick would have something to take to work after we had eaten.
Now I should go lay down, before Thing Two decided that his nap is over and they both sneak outside again!