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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Banana muffins and a tip for serving them to your family hot out of the oven first thing in the morning

My hubby had to be up and out early this Saturday morning to help with our district Pine wood derby so I wanted something hot for him and the kids. So I made Banana muffins.

Sorry the picture kinda stinks. It was early and my brain was not yet fully functional and I had not yet had coffee :)

Now I know what you are thinking... How did you whip those up at such an early hour? Well the trick is I had made the batter a few weeks ago and froze it in the muffin wrapper! Yes you can do that!

First here is the recipe I used... Banana muffins It is similar to the recipe I grew up with but it uses melted butter instead of shortening (Bonus if you ask me!) Line your muffin pan with liners (paper or silicone) Fill 1/2 to 2/3 full (I tend to under fill when I am going to freeze them. I feel they bake better). A metal scoop works great for this! and pop into your freezer. After they are frozen you can remove them from the pan and put into a zip top freezer bag.

When you are ready to bake put the # of muffins you want to  bake back into a muffin pan, put it into your oven  and turn it on to the desired temp. Bake for the normal time knowing you may need to bake them a few extra minutes but do the toothpick test to be sure (insert a tooth pick into the center of muffin and if it comes out clean it is done.)

Hubby really liked these. He said they were moist an yummy and the Girl liked the slight crispy-ness on the top.

Oh and I was extra nice and made hubby an egg sandwich while the muffins were cooking. So if you see him today and he is in an extra good mood... you are welcome... :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bottle Tote

I have had the idea for this for a while... My Girl Loved it!

I made it out of the leftovers of a pair of jeans that I had cut off the legs after the knee blew out. I made shorts out of the top of the jeans for my girl and could not bring myself to throw out this pretty embroidery. Blue also happens to be my girls favorite color :)  The strap is from an old pair of my jeans that had worn out beyond repair.

Are you a "Pinner"?

OK I admit I have a problem... I have become addicted to pinterest. Like I needed something else to take up my time. But here's the thing... I have actually been learning some cool things and it has helped my inspiration :)
I have seen some "pins" about awesome school lunches and had some of these cool ziploc containers which were not working for my hubby's lunch as I had hoped but they work great for the Boy. Here is what I sent with him today...

He was super excited! Never mind it is similar to the lunch he gets every day :)
PB with home made strawberry jam, raisins, pretzels & a Granola thin.

Meal plan 3/25 – 3/31 (First published 3/26/2012)

Back from another bit of a bloggin break... I'm working on getting back on track with my meal plans and letting you all know what we have been up to. Please try some of these recipes they are seriously good :)

Sunday, Grilled Marinated Turkey breast ... This was new for us and oh so good!
MondaySteak Fajitas in the Crock Pot with Mango Salsa ... This has become a favorite
Tuesday, Herb Crusted Pork Chops ... New
Wednesday, Tasty and Tender round steak W/ scalloped potatoes ... New
ThursdayCrock Pot Cream Chese Chicken
Friday, Home made Pizza See my pizza post here...
Saturday, Chili because I can start it in the morning and just leave it. The Hubby and I have a busy day with the kids so I need something that will be ready when we get home. I have leftover cornbread in the freezer I will serve with it.

Valentines day... (First published 2/15/2012)

I am in the minority that I am not a big fan of valentines day. I do still want to do something nice for my kids though so here is what I made them for dinner...

They Loved it and thought it was pretty cool.
Here is my "go to"  pizza dough recipe. It will yield 1 Large pizza or 2 medium thin crust pizzas.
I double it most of the time.
Pizza Dough
Printable recipe for Pizza Dough
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Extra flour may be needed if your dough is super sticky
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 Teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar (or granulated sugar substitute)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
Heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix flour, yeast, salt & sugar in a large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment).
Add in water and oil. Stir until mixed thouroughly (dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl).
Cover and let dough set for 15 minutes at least, an hour is better.
Sprinkle a bit of flour or cornmeal or flour onto a baking stone or lightly oil an aluminum pan.

With wet or floured fingers press dough out to desired size. Top with sauce and your favorite toppings and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes
See those happy faces... OK maybee valentines day isn't so bad :)
Helpfull equipment:
Pizza Stone
Mixer with dough hook

Potato soup... mmmmm... (First published 2/12/2012)

We love Potato soup! Or is this a chowder? I really do not know . All I know is It's good :)
I think this is a good basic recipe that can take on many flavors depending what your family likes. I made this a 2 weeks ago and think it may be in order today as well since it's easy, I have all the ingredients, it's super cold here and we have been a bit under the weather so need something simple but yummy.
Pictures were a bit spotty on this one. I love to take food pictures but I am so used to just moving along or doing 3 other things at the same time so I forget sometimes. I know it's hard to believe but it's true :)  
I hope you like it too!
Potato soup
4-5 small potatoes peeled & quartered
2 carrots peeled and chopped fine (a food chopper helps a lot here)
1 ½  cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 cup milk
½ to 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules to taste
½ small onion diced fine
1 tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic pressed or diced fine
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ - ½ cup shredded cheddar, or colby or Jack cheese whatever you like
Optional… you could easily add any of these that you like and have on hand!
Diced cooked ham
diced cooked chicken or turkey
crumbled bacon
leftover rice or Quinoa
Diced green onion tops
Steamed Brocoli
...please ignore the ugly green striped walpaper behind my cooktop. Someday it will be tile but untill then just don't look.Thank you :)
Put peeled & quartered potatoes into a 4Qt saucepan.  Add stock and diced carrots. Bring to a boil and cook covered until potatoes are fork tender.
Meanwhile melt butter in a small sauté pan, add diced onions, cook onions until they are translucent, add garlic sauté for 30 seconds or so or until the garlic is fragrant.  Add to potato mixture.
Hmmm my garlic press is starting to look a bit rough... It is well loved!
Add milk to potato mixture along with salt and pepper to taste (for us 4-5 turns on the S&P grinder is good). 
 If you need a bit more flavor add some chicken bouillon granules or herbs of your choice (start with ½ a teaspoon). 
Just before serving use a wooden spoon or potato masher lightly smash the potatoes to your desired consistency. If you like big chunks that is just fine.  If you mash the potatoes a lot the soup will get very thick which is OK if you like it that way (we do). You can add some water or stock to thin the soup if you need to.
Add a bit of the shredded cheese just before serving, then add a bit to each person’s bowl if they like.
Add any of the optional ingredients anytime after the initial cooking of the potatoes. You could also use ham, bacon, broccoli etc as toppings or serve as a “toppings bar”
My family really liked this but wished I had added some bacon. What can I say , they are carnivores…
I served it with homemade corn bread. Biscuits or a fresh loaf of bread would be nice too.

Playing Catch-up... (First published 2/12/2012)

Hi all, so sorry I have neglected my new project. Life got in the way (funny how that happens!). Over the last 2 weeks 1 or more people in my house have been sick (me included). Other wise I have been running my but off (I wish it was that easy to get rid of) delivering kids to sports practices, tournaments and scrimmages, pine-wood derby's and gearing up for GS cookie sales. Phew....
Also it was convenient that MN weather finally showed up just in time for our first out door cookie booth! Yeah baby 2 hours outside in 0 degree weather. Can you believe we had a blast? Yup it was fun and those kids are troopers!
I really need to work on my meal plan again and I will try to get it up tonight or tomorrow. Here is what is on my plate today...
Load up for cookie booth #2 and deliver to town
Come home wash dishes, fold laundry,etc...
Help the boy with his Valentines (Yay he wants to use his box from last year!!!!)
Have girl make GS poster for dad to take to work
Go work cookie booth with the girl
Break down booth and haul what is left home
Come home and figure out what to feed everyone... You thought I never struggled with this didn't you?
I think that is it... but you mom's know how it is, about 10 other things will pop up as well and we will figure out how to get it all done. Well maybe some of it anyway, we can hope right :)

Meal plan for week of 1/29 - 2/4 (First published 1/30/2012)

Sunday - Potato Soup / Chowder
Monday - Cheesy chicken chili (in the Crockpot) New to us
Tuesday - Teriyaki steak with fried rice
Wednesday - Oven fried chicken
Thursday - Sloppy Joe's (in the Crockpot)
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - shepherds pie (from the freezer)

Meal Plan for week of 1/22 – 1/28 (First published 1/22/2012)

Sunday,  Smashed Potato Soup (This was the Plan but I was tired so we had a Bear Creek Broccoli Cheddar soup instead.) I never said I was perfect but for a mix this is good soup!

Monday,  Chicken Cordon bleu (in the Crock pot)

Tuesday, Italian Hoagies

Wednesday, American Chop Suey

Thursday, Garlic Chicken

Friday, Pizza

Saturday, Tacos

What we ate last week... (First published 1/22/2012)

So sorry I did not get this out last week, our schedule has bee a bit nuts!
Meal plan for week of 1/15 – 1-21
Sunday, Enchiladas

Monday, French dip sandwiches

Tuesday, Tortellini

Wednesday, Bacon and Cheese Chicken This was new for us and it was THE BOMB! It will be added to our regular rotation!
Thursday, Quinoa Chili Printable recipe / Quinoa Chili  This Recipe is below...

Friday, Home made (frozen) Pizza

Saturday, Hubby’s choice ( I will be out of town Scrapbooking all day, Yay me! )
Quinoa Chili
Adapted from All Recipes.com
We really like this! So far I have made it twice and it has become my "go to" Chili recipe. The great thing is it can easily be converted to a Vegetarian dish by omiting meat and adding in extra veggies like zuchini and summer squash.
This week I tripled this recipe and made it in my large 8 Quart Crockpot. (Crockpot directions are below for same day and night before prep)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups home cooked or 2 (19 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Optional: Zuchini & Summer Squash

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the ground beef. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease; set beef aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with chili powder and cumin; cook 1 minute more to release the flavor of the spices. Stir in the tomatoes, black beans, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, oregano, and parsley (also add zuchini and summer squash now if using it). Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Simmer until the bell peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.
Once the red and green peppers are tender, stir in the quinoa, beef, and corn kernels. Return to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes to reheat. Stir in the cilantro to serve.
*** I make this in the crockpot. We feel that chili is best when cooked low and slow. The flavors are much deeper.
Here is what I do…
Add defrosted ground meat and set on high for about an hour… break up meat and add the rest of the ingredients stir and cook 3 hours on high or 5-8 hours on low.
You could easily prep this the night before Here is what I would do…
If your crock is removable add the meat to it, cover and put in the fridge. (Otherwise just add the deforsted meat to the crock in the AM)
Dice up all veggies and put them covered in the fridge.
Combine all spices in a small bowl or baggie>
Cook and refrigerate Quinoa
In the morning 1st thing before you do anything else get the meat  statrted and turn to high.
Before you leave the house, break up the meat, add everything else, give it a stir and turn it to low.   Viola!… you come home to a nice hot meal :)

Sheppard's Pie, Home Made Cream of Something and how to make extra to freeze (First publishes 1/15/2012)

I almost never make this recipe the same way twice. I like to tweak my flavors depending on what spices I am into at the time. Please remember I am not used to documenting my food adventures so please bear with me J If You have questions please let me know! I want you to take these recipes and ideas and make them your own.
I will attempt to write this as if you were only making 1 pan of this. If you want to make extra to freeze just multiply accordingly.
1 pound of ground beef
herbs or seasonings of choice ( I used a rosemary blend)
1-2 cups of canned or frozen veggies (I used corn today)
2-3 potatoes
½ to 1 small yellow Onion (we like the sweet onions)
1-3 garlic cloves depending on how much you like Garlic
Beef bullion  
(I used Watkins beef soup base)
Your favorite “cream of something soup” or you can make your own. A recipe I like is below…
Optional! ¼ cup Quinoa, don’t know about Quinoa yet? Read more here… 
Quinoa, a super food!
Start you potatoes boiling to mash later, my wonderful Hubby peeled some for me J Also start the Quinoa (if you are going to use it), you just need to let them boil until cooked.
Throw your meat into a pan and get it cooking. Dice up your onion nice and fine and add it to the meat. If your family says they do not like onion try shredding it on a cheese grater or mutilate it in a food processor. They will not even know it is in there and it adds great flavor! Next add your garlic preferably pressed with a garlic press. You could also mutilate it along with the onion in the food processor. 
While the meat is browning I start my Cream of soup mixture. For my Sheppard’s pie today I followed step 1-6 (skipping the salt) then added 2 tsp of a rosemary herb spice blend I like and a couple TBSP of Watkins Beef consume powder for extra flavor.
Yes you will likely have 4 burners going at once but it’s really OK. This is a big reason I like to make enough for multiple meals.

 Basic Cream Of Soup 
  1. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat.
  2. Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. (or not if reducing salt in your diet)
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize the ‘flour’ taste. Stir or whisk continually.
  5. Slowly add 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly. (or chicken / beef / vegetable broth)
  6. Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened
You can now tailor this to what flavor you need, Want Cream of onion or celery? Dice some up, melt some butter (Just a tsp or so) in a pan and sauté the desired veggie until translucent; add to the soup base mixture and simmer. You can make large batches of this and freeze into serving size portions. Also if you want your end result smooth you can use a stick blender or pour the cooled mixture into a regular blender. If you choose to use bouillon definitely wait until the end to add any extra salt!
Please taste this as you go. If you think it needs something add it! Since you will be adding it to the meat later it is ok if your seasonings are a bit strong. You actually want them to be since the flavor will mellow a bit when you add it to the meat.
NOTE: I would not use this as a plain soup! I personally would only use this in place of canned Cream soup that your recipe calls for.
Mix your cream of something into your meat mixture. When the Quinoa is finished cooking add it as well. If your meat mixture is a bit soupy just cook it on low for a bit until it thickens up. You can also add a bit more salt and pepper at this point if you think it needs it. Then turn the heat off and let it cool a bit.
(Mine was a bit soupy so I let it cook down)
Hopefully your potatoes are done about now so drain them, Mash them with a few Tbsp. of butter and milk. Add a bit of salt and pepper if you like it that way. If you have it add a bit of shredded cheddar cheese, just because it’s yummy :)
You will need a baking dish to assemble your Sheppard’s pie, 8x8 should do or something of similar size. If the pan you cooked the meat in is oven safe to at least 350°then you can leave the meat in the pan and not dirty another :)
Now all you do is layer the meat, then veggies then potatoes. Just try to make each an even layer. Bake in the oven at 350° for 30 minutes or so. If you are not sure if it is heated all the way through a quick read thermometer inserted in the center should read 145°.
If you are making some to freeze you have a couple options…You can use aluminum throw away pans. I get them at my dollar store or watch for sales. If they are nicer ones that will hold up for a few uses I will go one step further and line it with foil for easier clean up. Parchment paper would work too. Or any glass pan will do. I like to freeze the meal in the same container I will cook it in later. Now you may be thinking, “But what if I need that dish before I want to cook that meal?” All you have to do is line the dish with foil or Parchment. After it is frozen you can pop it out of the dish and wrap it with foil or plastic wrap and just to be safe put it in a large zip top bag of it will fit. You can find lots of tips online for how to safely package items for the freezer.

When it comes time to bake this it is helpful if you can take it out of the freezer the night before, unwrap it and place it in the dish it will be baked in, cover and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. It should take about 30-40 minutes in a 350° oven. If you forgot to take it out the night before you should still be ok it will just take longer to cook. I would cover the dish with foil to help it heat through faster. It will probably need about 60 minutes to heat all the way through.
WARNING! Never put a glass or stoneware baking dish straight into a hot oven from the freezer! This will cause thermal shock and your dish could shatter in the oven leaving an icky mess to clean up.
I know all this seems like a lot of work (I tripled the above recipe) but in a bit over an hour I had enough prepared for 3 meals!  Tonight’s dinner will also yield enough left over to freeze a lunch size portion for my husband to take to work.
I personally thought this tasted great! I did add a bit of salt to mine but not much. I had 2 helpings and could have eaten more but we are working on portions here and I wanted Hubby to have a lunch portion for work, oh and let’s not forget the girl made one of my favorite deserts so I had to leave some room for that As well J
The consensus from the rest of the family was…
The girl said “it is OK but Sheppard’s Pie is not my favorite”. She ate her entire portion without complaint.
The boy said “It’s GOOD!” and gobbled his up once it cooled off enough.
Hubby said it was “pretty good” he added salt and lots of black pepper because that’s just how he is. After he left the table he did enthusiastically say “another good dinner, thanks hun!”
Here are the Printable Versions...
Sheppard's Pie

I have a new love... (First Published 1/13/2012)

 Silicone baking cups, you need some run out and get them right now!  :)  *see notes below*
Seriously though these things are wonderful. I got mine at the local dollar store and will fit the bill for all your muffin/cupcake needs.
Want to know what I baked in them?
I made sweet potato muffins. It was a new recipe for me and they are pretty darn good. Mine did come out pretty dense and next time I will add a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg but they were a hit with me and better yet with the kids. One thing I did different from the recipe below was to peel and boil the sweet potatoes then mash them. Next time I may try the grating method.
Here is what mine looked like…
Here is the recipe I used
Sparky Marie's Sweet Potato Muffins with cinnamon sugar coating
adapted from Cuisine at Home

For the muffins:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sweet potato puree (from 1 baked potato)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

In a medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ground nutmeg.  Set aside.

In a large pouring vessel combine whole milk, buttermilk, sweet potato puree and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream unsalted butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer, until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately mix in dry and wet ingredients into the butter, starting and ending with the dry; mix only until each addition is incorporated, DO NOT OVERMIX.

Coat a muffin pan with nonstick spray and fill muffin cups 1/2 full.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, in a shallow bowl, combine granulated sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  In a separate bowl, melt
 1 stick of unsalted butter.

When the muffins are cool enough to handle, yet still warm, remove muffins from the pan, brush them completely with the melted butter, and roll in the sugar mixture to coat. 

* A note about the silicone baking cups... I have read some reviews of people not liking them so I thought I would share a bit more about them. First of all I currently have 2 types of muffin tins a regular no stick (yeah right stuff sticks like crazy) metal pan and my Pampered Chef stoneware muffin pan. I really like the results from my PC pan and I use it when I do not want to use papers (which I think are wayyyy overpriced!). Now even though I love MY PC muffin pan It can be a bit of a challenge to clean. Not difficult just a bit of a challenge. The metal one is not much easier in my opinion. It never comes clean in the dishwasher so I have to still do it by hand. OK now Silicone can get a bit sticky from using oil in them or cooking greasy items (not a problem with the muffins above) but a simple solution is a paste made of baking soda. I used as hot a water as I could stand and sprinkled a bit of baking soda into each cup. I rubbed it around with my fingers and rinsed.Simple as that :)

Meal plan for week of 1/8/2012 – 1/14/2-12 (Frist Published 1/9/2012)

FYI…  I usually only plan out dinner so If a meal is not noted then its dinner :)
Sunday, Breakfast..Biscuits and Gravy (The Girl’s choice for her first cooking lesson. More on this later)
            Dinner… Roast beef in the Crockpot w/mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.
Monday, Kielbasa with bell peppers and onions on rolls
Tuesday, Whole chicken roasted in the Crockpot
Wednesday, Meatloaf (this was supposed to cook in the oven but because of timing I cooked it in the Crockpot.) I used this recipe Mary's Meatloaf We liked this very much!
Thursday, Chicken soup (using Chicken carcass and leftovers from Tuesday’s chicken) I used this recipe Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup Thanks Stephanie it was really good!
Friday, Homemade Pizza… for dough I am planning to use the basic dough from the “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day” book but you can also find a great quick Pizza dough recipe here Quick Pizza Dough Also I will be making a few extras to Freeze.
Saturday, Sheppard’s Pie (I will be doubling this and making one to freeze because, well because it’s easy and I can)
What are you cooking this week?

I'm Back ... (first published 1/12/12)

I put this blog on hold for a while so I could get a handle on a few things. The last 2 weeks have gotten back to some sort of normalcy, Yayyyyy! I also started making a meal plan again which has really cut down on my day to day meal stress. I know a lot of people think that making a meal plan is difficult or takes a lot of time or say “well sure you can do that, you don’t work outside the home so you have time for that” In my opinion… the busier your family is the more you need to plan out what you will be feeding your family. Another I hear a lot from my friends and family is “my family is so picky they won’t eat a wide variety of foods” I hope to help with ideas for that too. First we start with figuring out how to build your food plan.
So first you need to get your family on board with wanting a less stressful mealtime. Next sit everyone down together, have a pen and notebook to take notes and ask them what they like to eat? If all you get for answers is Pizza and spaghetti and ice cream do not fear! You can give some suggestions or ask what kinds of flavors they like. Do they like Cheese? Apples? BBQ potato chips? Whatever, it will at least give you some ideas.
Here is the list my family came up with in about 10 minutes…
Smashed Potato Soup

Mexican Lasagna
Chicken Penne Pasta
Chicken Fajitas

Biscuits n Gravy
Cheese Burgers
Pizza (Home made)
Meat Loaf
Chicken Cordon Bleu & casserole
Cheeseburger Macaroni
Chicken Alfredo
Breaded Chicken
Roasted Chicken
Spiral Ham
Pork Roast
Beef Roast
Chicken Pot Pie
Sheppard’s Pie
Sloppy Joe’s
Steak Fajita’s
Chicken Teriyaki
BBQ Chicken
Pulled Pork
BBQ Shredded Chicken
Hungarian Goulash
Oven Fried Chicken
Cheese Steak / Italian Hoagies
Cheese Soup
Pork Chops
Chicken noodle soup
Sweet Potato fries           Baked Beans
Cous Cous                           Hash Brown Casserole
Salad                                     Parmesan Noodles
Roasted Potatoes            Fried Rice
    Yes I am lucky that my family will eat all these things but this was not always the case. I remember well when the girl was between 2-4 she would eat only… Easy mac, yogurt, bread and butter, applesauce & grapes. Yup that’s about it. At first I gave in and obliged her and made separate meals for her. Then about the time I had the boy I said enough is enough. My husband and I talked and came up with a plan we could live with. Our new rule was the girl would be given the same food we were eating. I would make sure there was something on her plate I knew she liked. She did not have to eat something if she truly did not like it. We would encourage her to try things but not force it. If she did not eat all her diner (age appropriate portions are important!) she would not get desert. That’s it… and you know what… It worked! The girl started eating a wider variety of foods. As the boy grew we imparted the same rule and he has a pretty wide variety of foods he will eat. It is funny though… My kids will almost never really love the same foods. 1 will think it’s awesome, the other will think it’s just ok but will eat it. Also they rarely go without a bit of something for desert.
So… here is my first challenge for you… sit down with your family and make a list… Go ahead… I dare you :)

Things I feel strongly about... (first posted Oct 2011)

I understand that we lead busy lives and many people do not have hours on end to spend in the kitchen, but if I can teach people a few shortcuts to making good food with less preservatives and chemicals then I will have made a difference.

I want to rid the world of the notion that cooking  & eating healthy is more expensive, therefore too hard.

I want to teach people that yes they too can make that from scratch and you know what… it’s not that hard!

I want people to learn they do not need to be a slave to the media and to the grocery stores. 

Let’s make conscious decisions for our families and what we put in our/their bodies.

Buy your beans, oats & spices from the bulk bins… “It’s a good thing”

If you think cooking healthy is “too expensive” then maybe you should rethink your cable plan or cell phone options. I mean what is really more important?…

I never want to hear again… “you are cooking “healthy?” then you can’t have anything good!”

So here goes… a bit about me... (First Published october 2011)

So here goes…
I am a wife to a husband I adore
I am a mom to 2 of the greatest kids on the planet
I like to cook
I do not like to clean
I grew up on the seacoast of New England
I now live in the Midwest
I miss good seafood
I am learning how to garden
I love fresh tomatoes … warm off the vine sliced then put on some yummy bread that is slathered with miracle whip. Yup miracle whip, got a problem with that?
My husband and kids do NOT like tomatoes, I think they are a bit crazy and the kids must not be mine :)
I am learning how to cook healthier alternatives for my family
I am on a mission to rid my kitchen of boxed foods want to be a better wife and mom.
I wish I had better patience
I need to lose some serious weight
I have an even more serious sweet tooth
I have a bad habit of over committing myself
I live a modest life but am loving it more now than ever
I love to read
I am a terrible speller
I wayyy over use ellipses…
I am terrible with Grammar and punctuation, sorry It’s how I roll
I like smiley faces at the ends of my sentences :)