Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pantry Cooking With Kids

It's school vacation and my kids do not want to go to the store during their vacation.  I am pretty low of food, or should I say, food that they like, so I said, "we can skip going to the store this week if you are willing to eat whatever we have on hand."  They agreed, but keep in mind, this was right after breakfast.  So we looked through our pantry, fridge, and freezer and made some food.  I'm pretty impressed with what they came up with. I'll mention, too, that I'm out of sugar and borrowed a cup of it from my neighbor yesterday, so making bread isn't an option right now.  I'm also out of honey, brown sugar, and syrup.  I have some powdered sugar we might utilize later??
They made their own soup for the crockpot - all three of them - and I think it will turn out pretty well.  The measurements are iffy, but I'll give you the basic idea.
I had some lentil soup, I made a few days ago, that we drained and reserved the cooked lentils.  This amounted to about 2 cups of cooked lentils.  To this, they added:
3 cans of black beans, drained
1 can of corn, drained
2 cans of diced tomatoes, drained,
1-2 C sour cream
2 chicken flavored packages of Ramen noodles and the seasoning
4, 20 oz. containers of water (they used my Starbucks travel mug for this)
Put it all in the crockpot on high for about 8 hours.
Next, they made leftover oatmeal muffins
1-2 C leftover cooked oatmeal
2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar
a spoonful of salt, baking powder, and cinnamon
some oil, milk, and about 1 C of sour cream
2 eggs, and about 2 C of flour and about 2 C of chocolate chips
I baked these in muffin tins for about 25-30 minutes.
They've made a lot of soup and done a lot of baking with me over the years, so they can pretty much hold their own in the kitchen.  I do the stove stuff, but I let them do the rest.  My daughter at 4 is the best egg breaker in the house and my 7 year old son knows by memory what you need to make a basic recipe. 
I like this, I'm going to see what else they can make!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


In my last post I wrote that I was going to clean and fix up the porch.  It ended up snowing that day, so I held off and did it later in the week.  We had about two days of semi-warmth and were able to use the porch a bit.  It makes a big difference!  I got the inside of my car cleaned yesterday which always makes me feel better.  I still need to go through clothes and edit what we no longer need.  Many of the clothes I mend, or replace parts, but now, some of the clothes are just getting tired and it's time to order some more clothes.  I plan to do some clothes shopping for my oldest son this week. 

I'm a little behind in my book reviews, I have 4 to get up on this blog so I'll be doing that this week. 

Today will be one of my less busy days (in a way) so I'm hoping to enjoy some of the spring weather. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Porch Clean-Up

Today I will be cleaning my porch.  In the fall, I put up sheets of heavy, thermal curtains.  I actually adhered them to the wooden walls with small brads.  Today, I'll be taking those out, patching the holes and touching up.  I'll wash all the windows.  I will take some of the excess coats and bags and streamline that.  Some shoes need to go to Goodwill.  So do some toys.  I have a bookshelf full of games that will be cleaned up.  A few drawers that will be cleaned up and my daughter's play kitchen.  I also need to wash the floor.  I'm going to set it up like a dining room in anticipation of warmer spring evenings!! I'll try to post some photos soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I took an unintentional blogging break over the last few weeks.  I was sick for a few weeks and my husband was traveling so I just didn't get around to posting for nearly a month!!  But, I'm feeling a lot better now and I'm counting on some warm weather to come our way soon!  I recently finished a book for my local book club called Zealot by Reza Aslan which a I really enjoyed.  This book has been controversial in some circles (or so it looks through a basic search) but I thought it was an enjoyable, fascinating historical read. 
Right now, I'm about 70 pages into a new novel called A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.  This is a very well written, interesting novel that takes place in Chechnya during the Second Chechen War.
I haven't had much of a voice over the past four weeks so reading aloud hasn't been a possibility.  My kids have been doing a great job on their own reading and projects.  We've been spending some time watching some new series on National Geographic.  We like: Ultimate Survival Alaska, Building Wild, and Diggers.  Diggers is their new favorite show.  Two guys travel to different historic locations with metal detectors and find treasures:  coins, jewelry, military buttons,  belt and horse buckles etc. 
I didn't watch the Oscars but now I've seen three of the movies:  Frozen (which I loved, I saw in the theatre and now we have the DVD) Blue Jasmine, and American Hustle.  I still have a few more to see, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen any time soon!  One of the things about not feeling well is that you can catch up on a lot of TV!  When I needed a break during the day, Mmy daughter and I would snuggle up on the couch with pillows and blankets and watch a lot of cooking shows (Pioneer Woman and cupcake wars) and HGTV (Love It or List It.) 
I'm hoping to do some home improvements soon.  I want to do a little flower planting in the side yard, hang up blinds in 4 windows, and paint my living room and kitchen.  I've been window shopping at Pier 1, Homegoods, and Marshalls for some pretty home décor stuff, but nothing has quite inspired me yet.  I live by the beach, but I'm not crazy about "beachy décor"  I already know that I live by the beach so I don't need to have lighthouse lamps and fake seaglass around.  I already have tons of real seaglass!!  My style is cozy, New England simple décor with Bohemian accents.  I like furniture that is shabby chic and I like trestle tables and Hitchcock furniture and braided rugs.  I like silhouettes and lots of pictures hung on the same wall.  I like seaglass, shells, and driftwood.  I like Bloomsbury Bohemian, and mid-20th century modern.  I like antiques mixed with contemporary furniture and very little clutter.  Much of what I see at the stores these days is oversized and stylized.  I can't seem to find a "normal" bowl or mug.  So, I end up going to antique stores or thrift stores and I can find a fun mix and match supply of goods!
Well, that's all for now! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Turkey Noodle Soup

I like to keep foods in my freezer so that I can make a healthy meal for my family easily.  This is an example of one of these recipes.  To make my turkey noodle soup I simply took out of my freezer a few cups of frozen, mixed veggies and about 2 cups of white turkey meat.  After I cook a turkey I cut off and cube some of the meat to use in the future.  I usually freeze 2 cups of cubed meat in a small freezer bag and label it.  Next, I added a few cups of frozen, homemade turkey stock.  I put all of this in my crockpot and heat it up.  Then I added some already cooked thin spaghetti noodles.  I cut the noodles with scissors so that they are short.  I add a little pepper and done!  Tasty, frugal, and healthy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review A Match Made In Texas

I recently got a copy of A Match Made in Texas from Bethany House Publishers to read and review.  A Match Made in Texas is a novella collection by these authors:  Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox.  It took me a L-O-N-G time to get through this book.  There isn't anything wrong with the book or the stories therein, it's just that this type of romance novella isn't appealing to me right now.  I've read many of this type of book through various publishers and I just can't seem to get into them.  That said, this would make good reading for a vacation or something of that sort, where you can read a story in a small amount of time.  They are cute stories, but just not something I'm that into right now.  3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Waste Not Want Not: Tortilla Chips

We go through a lot of tortilla chips at our house and there is always about 1/2 of a cup of tiny pieces or at the bottom of the bag.  Instead of throwing them out, I started to keep them in a freezer bag in the freezer the way you might with the heels of homemade bread to use for breadcrumbs.  Usually a recipe only calls for about 1-2 cups of breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs so I can put the broken pieces of tortilla chips in my food processor and blend them to make bread crumbs.  I use these in meatloaf, as a topping for macaroni and cheese, or other casserole.  Also, you can make a tortilla pie using crushed up tortilla chips for the pie crust.  If the chips aren't too small, you can add them to salads or soups as a substitute for croutons.  You can use them to stretch the beef in meatballs.  I've made meatballs using beef, Taco spices, a little salsa, tortilla chip crumbs, and eggs.  These are nice to put in tortilla soup or chili.