Monday, December 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - December 2

Here is what we are eating this week:

Monday - Bourbon chicken, rice, and peas

Tuesday - Pizza and salad

Wednesday - Pasta with Bolognese sauce and salad

Thursday - Baked salmon, roasted brussels sprouts, and rice pilaf

Friday - Scalloped potatoes and ham, green beans

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Roast Chicken

Last week I made roast chicken for dinner. I sort of combined a few different recipes to get the taste I wanted, so I am writing this down for my own personal reference, so I can recreate this chicken because it turned out really well! And I am putting it online in hopes that someone else might benefit from this as well :)

I cut up some onions, carrots, and garlic, and put them in a deep baking dish. Then I rubbed the chicken (it was about 4 lbs.) with olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and inserted small pieces of garlic in between the skin and the meat. I roasted the chicken for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then turned the temperature down to 375 degrees and baked it for an hour more. At that point it was nice and brown but the meat near the bones was still a little pink, so I put a lid on the baking dish and baked the chicken and veggies for 20 more minutes covered at 375.

The chicken was tender and flavorful, with crispy, browned skin, which is exactly what I wanted :)

This post is linked to: Fantastic Thursday and Wonderful Food Wednesday 

Monday, September 23, 2013

French Press Cozy

 We make coffee in a French press, so I sewed up a little cozy to keep the coffee warm a little longer. I cut different coffee cup shapes out of red ticking, used fusible web to adhere them to a 7" x 12" piece of linen.

Then I hand appliqued them and embroidered some little details on them. I sewed that to 2 layers of batting and a 9" x 14" piece of red backing fabric. Then I folded the backing over the edges to bind the linen.

 I sewed on 4 red buttons and 4 elastic loops to close the cozy around the french press.

Here is a close-up of the embroidery detail on one of the cups. This one is my favorite :)

I think it turned out pretty well for my first time, but I should have made it just a little bit longer, maybe 1/2". And I should have attached the batting and backing to the linen before I embroidered the cups so the embroidery stitches would be quilting stitches too. Also the binding turned out a little bit funny, so I should have just used binding strips, I think the backing fabric I used was a little too thick to be a good binding fabric.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A little bit of fall

I wanted to make a new fall wreath, but all the wreath ideas I pinned on Pinterest weren't quite right. I wanted something simple, but still cute. I bought a styrofoam wreath form, the striped fabric, and some brown linen at Joann fabric's during their Labor Day sale.  After playing around with a lot of different ideas I settled on wrapping the wreath form with the striped fabric and making rosettes out of the linen to add a special touch. I love the way it turned out!

This post is linked to:
Too cute Tuesday and Handmade Tuesdays

Friday, August 23, 2013

The boys

Caleb turned one yesterday, and Titus celebrated his third birthday on July 31st. My kids are growing up! Here are some miscellaneous pictures from the past few months:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - July 1

Before I post my menu plan, I just have to say this. I have never liked Greek yogurt. I have had so many friends rave about it's creamy goodness, and have tried several different brands, but I always felt something was missing, it just didn't taste right to me.

Then, I tried Trader Joe's full-fat Greek yogurt (plain, with a little bit of sugar and frozen pineapple mixed in for flavor) and it is out of this world good! This is not an ad for Trader Joe's (even though I do think it is an amazing store :) but a recommendation to try full-fat Greek yogurt. Most stores only sell low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt, so you'll have to do a little hunting, but it is worth it!

I only buy full-fat dairy products for our family. Saturated fat is an important part of a balanced diet. It helps maintain cell structure and stabilize blood sugar, as well as making things taste great! (I am not advocating eating a lot of greasy fried foods from fast food restaurants or using hydrogenated oils. Naturally occurring fat is nothing to be afraid of, but a lot of the oils and butter substitutes that are available have been modified in labs so they don't resemble what our bodies were designed to digest.) Milk has cream for a reason, and I think that removing the cream (flavor!) from dairy products and adding a lot of sugar, stabilizers, and artificial flavors to make them look and taste better results in an inferior product.

Ok, back to the menu plan :)

Monday - Chicken Teriyaki, brown rice, green beans

Tuesday - Black bean quesadillas and corn

Wednesday - Grilled salmon, risotto, and peas

Thursday - 4th of July party! - Steak, corn on the cob, broccoli salad, hot dogs for the kids

Friday - Sausage and veggie packets on the grill

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Strawberry season!

 Yesterday Titus, Caleb, and I went strawberry picking with some friends. The weather was beautiful, and there were plenty of berries to pick. I brought home about 12 pounds of strawberries and a few stalks of rhubarb.

I froze some of the strawberries for smoothies. To keep them from freezing into a giant clump I flash froze them. I lined a cookie sheet with waxed paper, hulled and halved the strawberries, and spread them out on the cookie sheet, which I put in the freezer for about an hour (sorry I don't have a picture of that). Once the strawberries were frozen, I quickly removed them from the cookie sheet and transferred them, still frozen, to an airtight container and put them back in the freezer.

Frozen strawberries for smoothies!

George requested a strawberry-rhubarb pie, so I loosely followed a recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Sometimes when I adapt recipes they don't turn out very well, but this one was absolutely perfect! Here is what I did:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening (I used non-hydrogenated palm shortening)
cold water

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups strawberries, cut into small pieces
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 2 stalks)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter until it is all incorporated, but is still a little crumbly. Add water a little bit at a time until the mixture just starts to come together. Stir very gently, over-handling the crust makes it tough instead of flaky. Divide crust pastry into 2 balls and roll one out and put in a pie plate to form the bottom crust. Roll the other ball of pie crust and use for the top crust after the filling is in.

To make the filling, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pour this over the stawberries and rhubarb and gently mix until combined. Let this sit for about 10-15 min. Spoon the filling into the pan lined pie pan (there will be a lot of strawberry-rhubarb "syrup" left over, don't put this in, just save it for topping pancakes, ice cream, etc.) Lay the top crust on top of the pie. Trim the extra crust off and crimp the edges of the pie crust together. Use a fork or knife to make a few vents in the top crust to let out the steam.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 30-40 minutes until the crust is starting to brown and the filling is bubbling.

This morning I made strawberry scones using this recipe.

Strawberry picking was so much fun and we are definitely enjoying the fruits of our labor!

This post is linked to: Little House Living's recipe exchange and Tasteful Tuesdays @ Naptime Creations

Monday, May 27, 2013

I will seek you in the morning

This morning I was blessed to wake up early, the baby nursed and went back to sleep, and everyone else was still sleeping, so I had some quiet time to myself. I used that opportunity to make a cup of coffee and have a short quiet time with God. It wasn't anything long or intensive, but it was a little bit of encouragement from God's word to start my day off right!

In yesterday's sermon, the elder who was preaching encouraged everyone to find some time every day to read God's word. He spoke from personal experience, saying when he didn't start his day with scripture, he found himself walking in the flesh and not the spirit of God.

My impromptu devotional time this morning has inspired me to make more of an effort to rise before the kids to get in my quiet time in the morning. Lamentations 3:23 says "His mercies are new every morning" and I want to dwell on God's mercies every morning before I start my day. Not for my glory, but because He is worthy!

I found a wonderful resource for busy moms (and busy women who are not moms!)

Every day this website gives a brief reading plan and an accompanying devotional. And it isn't trite or shallow. The devotionals speak truth to my heart and challenge my thinking. I have been so encouraged by what I have read on SheReadsTruth that I want to share this resource with everyone! Praise God for inspiring these women to come together and form this great resource for Christians all around the world!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - May 20

Here is our menu plan for this week:

Monday: Chicken fajita bites

Tuesday: Steak, crash hot potatoes, and roasted brussels sprouts

Wednesday: Chicken fried rice

Thursday: Baked tilapia, lemon pepper pasta (from Trader Joe's), green beans

Friday: Chili and cornbread

Friday, April 5, 2013

Little Pancakes

Yesterday morning I made cocoa-banana pancakes for breakfast using this recipe. I added about 1/4 cup of sugar to the pancakes, because I don't serve them with syrup (pancakes are messy enough without syrup in our house : ). They were delicious! And there were leftover pancakes that I froze for easy breakfasts : )

I started out making normal-sized pancakes, but switched to making tiny pancakes. I have always been fascinated by things that are smaller than normal, and these itty bitty pancakes were so cute and fun! I thought they tasted better too because they ended up being more done in the middle. And Titus loved them! He was losing interest in the normal-sized pancakes, but when I made these little baby pancakes he gobbled them up : ) This was an easy way to make regular food more fun and kid-friendly. I am so glad I made this culinary discovery!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Time flies!

Well my baby is now 7 months old and has 5 teeth! Caleb is the joy of our lives (along with his brother Titus!) His smiles are plentiful and are bestowed on friends, family, and random strangers at the grocery store : ) He isn't showing any signs of crawling or rolling around, which I am very thankful for! Having 1 child on the move keeps me busy enough ; ) Poor Caleb, we are all so busy chasing after Titus that we forget to take pictures of him : (  I am really trying to be intentional about taking pictures of him because I want to document all his cute little baby stages!

Here is a sampling of the pitiful amount of pictures I have taken of Caleb:

Caleb on Christmas morning with some of his presents

Tummy time! (Love the whale on his butt)

Titus doing "tummy time" with Caleb : p

Chilling in the Boppy

Exersaucer - I love this thing!

Holding hands - so sweet!

I love these boys so much!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Peeling Hard-boiled Eggs

Look at me posting two days in a row! I might just make this blogging thing work ; )

Today I am sharing a tip that has revolutionized my life. I no longer live in fear of spending hours peeling eggs, only to end up with patchy, ugly looking eggs. Seriously though, am I the only person who has not heard of this tip and has been a miserable failure at peeling hard-boiled eggs?

It is so simple, but this really does the trick. First, crack the egg all over and carefully start peeling away a little bit of the eggshell. Then, slide a spoon in between the egg and shell, so the bowl of the spoon is cradling the egg. Use that to break the seal between the egg and its shell, and the eggshell will detach easily. As long as the peeling is started correctly (ie. without little bits of the egg white attached to the peel), the spoon will do the rest of the work for you : )

I hope I explained this all clearly! I wanted to take a picture yesterday when I was peeling eggs, but my camera battery was dead, and I don't have a way to get pictures from my phone to my computer (it is just a regular non-smart phone).

Find more helpful kitchen tips at Tammy's Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - April 1

This is really what we are eating this week. No April Fools here!

Monday - Enchiladas verde and corn

Tuesday - Shepherd's pie (with leftover lamb, so yes Sarah, it is actually SHEPHERD'S pie : )

Wednesday - Baked salmon, roasted carrots and potatoes

Thursday - Chili and corn muffins

Friday - Chicken Teriyaki, rice, and green beans

Friday, January 11, 2013

In my kitchen - January 11

I am starting a new series (I think that is what it is called) that I may or may not do regularly. I cook and bake a lot, and I am always inspired by reading about what other bloggers are making, so I thought I would return the favor and post about what I am cooking right now. I don't have any pictures to go along with this post because I know myself, and if I have to post pictures, it will never get done. Maybe someday when I get a full night's sleep and the boy's nap times align I will put up a picture or two. But until then, you will just have to imagine what the deliciousness looks like (or make it yourself ; )

In my kitchen today I am:

- Cooking black beans - I don't use a recipe, I just soak some beans overnight, drain off the soaking water, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, and cook on medium for 1-2 hours until the beans are tender. Then I add salt until they taste delicious : ) I will use these beans in our dinner tonight, and the leftovers will either go in the freezer or be part of lunches this coming week.

- Making olive oil granola - This is the best granola ever! (In my opinion : ) It has a lot of flavor, and seems like it is probably pretty healthy too. I didn't have dried apricots or pistachios, so I left them out. And I added some ground flax seed and substituted dried coconut for the coconut chips.  Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe. It smells awesome, and I hope it tastes great too!