Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cute, Cute, Cute Accessory

On Sunday the 19th, I am singing in our church's Christmas Cantata. The powers that be have decided that everyone should wear black bottoms and white, white tops that can be accessorized with Christmas colors. I do not own a white, white top, so hi-ho, hi-ho it's off to shop I go went.

This is what I found. Super cute, right? However, I was not happy with the pointy collar and my arms are really long, so the sleeves were not quite long enough. No problem! I am a crafty blog hound. I have seen many a restyled outfit. It is now my turn to restyle.

So far, I have gotten to removing the pointy collar and resewing the collar band, and removing one cuff. I have purchased material to make new sleeve endings and I will post as soon as I have completed my restyle.

But my big, big news is I made the cutest accessory. I found the instructions here at Infarrantly Creative. Of course, I took creative liberty and made mine more colorful. But I am in love with these necklaces.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pictures in the Park

A couple of weeks ago, Bubbie Boy was invited to a birthday party that was held at a park we have never been to. It was the perfect place for pictures, so the kids and I went back and took (embarrassed gulp) 300 pictures. What? I was trying to get the perfect picture.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Week of October 11, 2010

*Hosted by Laura at

I am starting our second week of making our main meal at noon. The days that it actually happened last week went great. It was a wonderful feeling to have the cooking for the day done in the afternoon. We went to our evening activities and I didn't feel rushed. There was a good meal waiting for my husband when he got home, and the kids and I enjoyed a hot meal together in the afternoon. (My husband is working a lot of hours at the current time, and doesn't get to eat dinner with us right now.)

There were a couple of days that I didn't get this accomplished for one reason or another, but my goal this week is to see that I am able to for at least Monday through Thursday.

Possible Breakfasts
oatmeal, cereal & cheese sticks, muffins, pancakes, smoothies, egg sandwiches

Light Meal
Sandwiches--PB&J, egg salad, tuna, meat, ABC (apples, bread & cheese)

Main Meals
Monday - Sausage Lentil Soup with Spinach, biscuits
Tuesday - Chili & cornbread
Wednesday - Chipotle Chicken Burritos
Thursday - Shredded Pork Sandwiches, carrot sticks, roasted cauliflower
- Grilled Chicken, quinoa, broccoli
Saturday - Grilled Pizza
Sunday - Chicken Stew with cornmeal dumplings

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Looks Yummy in the Week of October 4, 2010

I am going to try to make a post each week that will highlight recipes that I have found that I am interested in trying. This could potentially be a big post--I LOVE looking at recipes!

No Bake Granola Bars
Pumpkin Granola
Candy Corn Popcorn Balls
Caramel Apple Muffins
Homemade Cracker Jacks
Chocolate Malt Cake
Monster Mash

Monday, October 4, 2010

A New Plan of Attack

Two new things:

1) I am making our noon meal our big meal--the one I do all the cooking for. Our evenings are simply too crazy and getting everyone fed has been all but a nightmare. So, I will make a nice hot meal for the children and myself and fix a plate for my dear husband to warm when he gets home. Not the best thing in the world, but my hope is that I will feed him happier food this way. I know that I am pretty happy about it as it is our first day, and I have this feeling of weightlessness because I do not have to cook this evening. Also a bonus, the children and I had a nice sit-down meal together.

2) I have been looking at "Menu Plan Monday" for quite some time now. It is hosted by Laura at Organizing Junkie I never seem to actually menu plan anymore. That ended sometime around the time Bubbie Boy was born, I believe. However, I am not going to post my menu plan for the entire week. Hopefully each day I will add what I made that day. This is more for me to keep up with what I have cooked, and hopefully have a better source of ideas to pull from. So . . . here goes!


*Grilled Turkey Tenderloin
- marinated in soy sauce, apple juice, garlic powder, ground ginger and canola oil. Sorry this was an eyeball and dump kind-of recipe--that is the way I cook.
*Steamed Brussel Sprouts
*Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

*Potato Soup

- I winged this one. Diced some potatoes, carrots, garlic and onions. Brought that to a boil in chicken broth, then reduced to a simmer to cook through. Added a can of drained corn and some half & half. Then pureed slightly.
*Steamed Broccoli

*One Pot Italian Pasta
*Doctored Green Beans

*Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie
*Homemade Applesauce

Hubby called and said, "Let's go out tonight." NO PROBLEM!!!

*Gourmet Hamburgers
*The Best Potato Fries

Grilled Pizza

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin Muffin, Charlie Brown!

We LOVE pumpkin muffins around here. And, as you can probably tell, I try to make everything a little healthier. I think this one fits the bill.

The Pumpkin Muffin according to A Desire to be Heard

2 bananas
1 can (15oz) solid packed pumpkin
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 c. oil + applesauce to make 2/3 c.
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. yogurt or buttermilk
2 c. white wheat flour
1/2 c. oatmeal, ground
2 T. flax seeds, ground
1/4 c. wheat bran
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds, optional

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease muffin tin or line with cupcake papers.

Using a hand blender (or other kitchen implement that will "smash"), combine bananas, pumpkin, whole eggs, egg whites, oil + applesauce, brown sugar and yogurt or buttermilk. Blend until very smooth.

In another bowl, combine flour, ground oatmeal, ground flax seeds, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Gently fold dry mixture into wet mixture--use a light hand.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Top each muffin with pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy! Makes approximately 18 muffins.

This is linked to Colleen's Kitchen Recipe Swap.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Menu -- Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bar-B-Que Stuffed Bell Peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 can corn kernels, drained
Trader Joe's bar-b-que sauce (I used between 1/2 & 3/4 of the bottle)
bell peppers (tops cut off, cleaned, and boiled for 3 minutes)

In skillet over medium heat, saute onion in a little chicken broth. Add the ground beef and cook through. Combine ground beef with rice, corn and bar-b-que sauce. Stuff your bell peppers. If you have people in your household who won't eat cooked bell peppers, just surround your filled bell peppers with the rest of the filling and bake that way. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes.

Apple Coleslaw
2 cups cabbage
1 medium grated carrot
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 chopped apple
5 tablespoons yogurt, lowfat
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, lowfat
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dill weed (I didn't have dill weed. I used celery seed and I was happy with the result.)

Wash the cabbage. Cut it into fine shreds, until you have 2 cups of cabbage.

Peel the carrot. Grate it with a grater. Chop half a green pepper into small pieces. Remove the core, and chop the apple. Put the cabbage, carrot, green pepper, and apple in a large mixing bowl. Stir together.

Put the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dill weed in a small bowl. Stir together to make a dressing.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash
*Just baked this in the oven, then mashed it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lapbook Lessons Giveaway Event

Lapbook Lessons is hosting the Back to Homeschool Giveaway Event. The current giveaway is for a super membership to In the Hands of a Child. Boy would I LOVE to win this. Take a look for yourself.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Homemade Graham Crackers

I purchased some graham flour from Azure Standard approximately two months ago, and it has been sitting in my pantry ever since. Until today. Today, I finally broke down and made graham crackers

2-1/2 c. graham flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbs. butter, softened
6 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine graham flour, salt and baking soda in mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, honey and egg until well combined. Add butter mixture to flour mixture. Blend until it holds together.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dump dough (it will be dry and stiff) onto parchment paper, and roll to desired thinness with a rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes and prick with a fork.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool so they will crisp up.


Mine turned out more like soft graham crackers--I didn't roll them thin enough. Also, they were a touch too salty. I will try to use 3/4 tsp. salt next time. Also, they were a tad too sweet. I will reduce the amount of brown sugar next time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

100 Things About Me

So, o.k., maybe this is a little dorky. I have seen it on other people's blogs, and I enjoy reading them. And probably I'm not doing this so much for other people to read and I am to see if I can actually think up 100 things about myself. And, for the record, I struggle with doing this because it feels a little like I am trying to promote myself--totally not the point.

1)I am a daughter of THE King.
2)I believe God made the sweetest strawberries just to see us smile.
3)My career goal in college was to be CEO of Disney. At the time it was Michael Eisner's job, and I fully intended to take it from him.
4)This career goal came to an abrupt end during the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I was in class, took a good look around and decided that no one in that class had any idea of what was really important.
5)I was in Junior Miss in high school.
6)I never skipped school.
7)I went to high school with Emmit Smith (2 years behind).
8)I sing soprano.
9)My secret dream is to be a recording artist.
10)I had my daughter's name picked out twelve years before she was born.
11)I once had the desire to have twelve children.
12)I absolutely no longer have that desire.
13)I eat precisely twelve M&Ms almost every night before bed with hot tea or decaf coffee.
14)I exercise for forty to fifty minutes at least four days and usually five days a week.
15)I hate to exercise.
16)I listen to a lot of books on tape (MP3) while I am cleaning.
17)I love books.
18)My favorite food is pancakes—especially with peanut butter and cherry preserves.
19)I had all three of my children at home.
20)I was in high school before I knew my middle name begins with a “K” and not a “C”.
21)I have entered the Pillsbury Bakeoff.
22)I make really good granola. (Sorry, I won't share the recipe. I might want to sell granola one day.)
23)My husband gave me pearls on our wedding day and I almost didn't wear them. I didn't want to hurt the feelings of a friend who had given me a necklace to borrow. (I ended up wearing both.)
24)I wish we had gone to the court house to get married.
25)My dream vacation would be to stay in a house that had a pool and lots of things for the kids to do. There would be a cook, who would cook to my specifications, and a housekeeper, who also did laundry.
26)I love to collect recipes.
27)I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly.
28)I memorized LOTS and LOTS of Bible verses growing up.
29)I have a terrible memory for memories.
30)I don't have a favorite color.
31)I prefer carnations to roses—they last longer.
32)I hate my handwriting.
33)I am not a risk-taker.
34)Rainbows make me smile.
35)I really dislike long car trips.
36)I almost always fall asleep during a long car trip.
37)If I am taking a long car trip, I want to know why we didn't get there yesterday.
38)I hate shopping for clothes.
39)I hate shopping for shoes even more.
40)I am a second generation homeschooler.
41)I used to make up quadratic equations to do during church.
42)I listen better when my hands are busy working on something.
43) I like soggy cereal.

. . . to be continued.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicken Tortellini Spinach Soup

Some of the best meals in our home happen when I go to the pantry and just start pulling stuff out. That is what happened tonight.

In a large pot, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Saute 1 large diced onion for about 5 minutes. Add 1 pound sliced carrots and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in 2 quarts chicken broth. When it comes to a boil, add in 1 package dried 3 cheese tortellini. Allow to cook for 10 to 12 minutes then add 2 cans chunk chicken. Cook to heat through. Add as much fresh spinach as you would like, and allow to cook down.

Everyone loved this. Another happy meal!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Mom, what's for lunch?" Link Up

Today was a weird day. I am trying to get school plans done. But life goes on in the middle. And wouldn't you know, those kids wanted to eat somewhere around 12:00 noon.

We needed something quick, easy, healthy and tasty. A look in my fridge revealed a bowl of grated zucchini. My computer-like mind remembered a recipe for zucchini patties I had seen in an Amish cookbook. So, I set out to make said zucchini patties. I only kind-of sort-of followed the recipe. I also looked one up on The amounts I used are approximate:

3 cups shredded zucchini
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups shredded low-fat cheese
Italian bread crumbs (enough to soak up the excess liquid)
Olive oil
Marinara sauce

Combine all ingredients. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil to the griddle--just enough to keep the patties from sticking. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the zucchini mixture onto the griddle. Cook until golden brown, then flip over and do the same to the other side. Serve with warmed marinara.

These definitely fit the prescribed bill. And . . . the kids liked them.

So, I got to thinking, "What if we could start a beginning of the homeschool McLinky to share easy, quick, healthy lunch recipes.

Of course, that set me into a search on how to make blog buttons and how to set up a McLinky. I have a feeling there are a couple of bugs, but, hey, it's my first try.

Come join me. Add your recipe, and link up.

Grab a button!

What's for lunch, Mom?

Testing making a button

I am following directions I found at Following the Footsteps.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our School Room

I am putting some thought into this topic for this week's blog hop.Not Back to School Blog Hop We don't have a school room per se. Learning takes place everywhere. It should take place everywhere. I tell my children that if we are ever out and someone asks them why they aren't in school, they should say, "I'm homeschooled. Every minute is a learning opportunity."

As far as "doing" schoolwork, Horse Girl has a loft bed with a desk underneath. She likes to work there. Also, this year, she really wanted backpack. I think it is a little funny for a homeschooler to have a backpack, but she really wants to experience a little more of "real school."

Pea Picker and Bubbie Boy do most of their work at the kitchen table--the most convenient place for mom.

Last year, I invested in a basket for each to store books. It has been a wonderful organizational tool.

Also, my wonderful Lovin' Man made a white board/organizational board. The white board is on the right. On the left are bins for storing papers (and other stuff) and clips for displaying artwork, etc.

Here's to a wonderful, productive school year no matter where our children choose to learn or where they learn best.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

♫ Go, Ashley, it's your birthday . . . ♫

Yup, today was "my day." Interesting day. I woke at 4:30 this morning to a sick child. He swallowed pool water. He got a nasty intestinal bug. Not so much fun . . . for him or for me.

However, all-in-all it was not a bad day. My friend, Marianna, took me to a new restaurant--Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen. SO YUMMY!!! I had the Avocado Delish: (cue music and smooth announcer's voice) "Light and flavorful, Gobetti with pan-seared organic tomatoes, black olives, garlic and lemon zest are topped with fresh sliced avocado. (free-range chicken, added)." As an added bonus, I now have a new restaurant to add to my very short list of restaurants where I like to dine.

Then, if that wasn't enough--Orange Leaf Yogurt. I am in love with their completely sugar-free, no artificial sweetener added, vanilla cinnamon yogurt. Yummy in my tummy!

So, when I got home, I needed to spend some time with Pea Picker. He and I made brownies. Not just any brownies, however. There were a couple of recipes I had been wanting to try and they are non-traditional. The first one, Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies comes from Finding Joy in my Kitchen. The second, Fudge Brownies, is from Jillian Michaels. I saw it on "Losing it with Jillian," and couldn't rest until I tried it.

I give you fair warning: these are not traditional brownies. My kids were a little taken aback by the ingredients, but I told them, "Hey, it's my birthday. On your birthday I make the cake you want. This is what I want."

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

1 can (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 eggs
3 T olive oil
1/4 C cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch glass pan.

2) Using a blender or food processor, combine the beans, eggs and olive oil. Then, puree the mixture.

3) Then, add in the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, pinch of salt and vanilla and puree until smooth.

4) Pour the brownies into the pan.

5) Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the brownies.

6) Pop the brownies into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. As the brownies bake, they will pull away from the edge of the pan... that's a clue they're getting close to done. Check with a toothpick to make sure the batter is done. The brownies will be moist, but not gooey.

7) Cool, then slice. Enjoy! If they stick around, you can keep them on the counter for up to 2 days... then pop them in the fridge to keep for another day or so. These brownies are almost melt-in-your mouth due to the fine texture, and they are quite moist, so they will not keep as long as "regular" brownies.

Fudge Brownies


Olive oil spray

2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom

1/3 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large egg, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8" square pan with olive oil. Set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey and cocoa mixture, then whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 two-inch squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Results: I added extra salt to the black bean brownies because I had cooked the black beans and hadn't added salt, so I was worried they would be a little flat. I shouldn't have done that. They were a little too salty. The texture is a little weird. Once the fudge brownies cooled, they kind-of rocked. Of the two, I will probably make the fudge brownies again.

Not Back to School Blog Hop: Curriculum

Not Back to School Blog Hop

We are planning on beginning our 8th homeschooling year on August 16th.

Horse Girl is in 7th grade. Her subjects are as follows:

Wordly Wise 7
Easy Grammar 6
Math-U-See Zeta
A Reason for Handwriting E
Apologia General Science (co-op class)
Sonlight History Core 6
Lemonade to Leadership (co-op class)
Starting Points Worldview Curriculum (co-op class)
Institute for Excellence in Writing (co-op class)

Pea Picker is in 5th grade. His subjects are as follows:

Wordly Wise 5
Easy Grammar 4
Math-U-See Delta
A Reason for Handwriting C
Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany
Science Detective
Sonlight History Core 3+4/Core 6
Lemonade to Leadership (co-op class)
Institute for Excellence in Writing (co-op class)

Bubbie-Boy is in 3rd grade. His subjects are as follows:

Wordly Wise 3
First Language Lessons
Flashmaster, Calculadder, Math-U-See Alpha
A Reason for Handwriting A
Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany
Sonlight History Read-A-Louds from Core 3+4 & 6/Readers from Cores 1 & 2

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mini Rant

So, you would think that flies wouldn't like sour stuff, right? WRONG!!

I am trying out this special water drink recommend by Jillian Michaels (66 oz. water, 1 dandelion tea bag, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cranberry juice--the REAL stuff, it's sour, not sweet). So I went to get my glass of it, and what did I find? I twerpy little fly. Man, I had to dump the last swigs of my water down the drain.

Did I mention that I. HATE. FLIES.? I do believe that God has a very good reason for everything he created. I am anxious to hear that one.

Twerpy little fly.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Food

When I find something I like to eat, I can eat if for days without getting tired of it. This holds true for my current "happy food."

Happy Food - def. - food that makes me want to dance and sing and lift my hands to heaven and shout, "Hallelujah!"

O.K., so here we go: Place soft corn tortillas on a plate. Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to soften. Spread mashed black beans on top and sprinkle with low-fat shredded cheese. Microwave again to heat beans and melt cheese. Top with chopped purple cabbage (trust me, it works), low-fat sour cream and salsa. The extra crowning jewel would be avocado (I was out today) and/or chopped tomatoes (fresh from my garden on this one.

Can I get a "Hallelujah!" please!

Quasi Muffin Tops

Hmmm. Something occurred to me as I typed the title to this post. "Muffin top" has taken on a totally different meaning since the mid-90s when those pans for baking your muffin batter into the delectable "top" came out. Made famous by Seinfeld, of course.

That was a total digression. I apologize. But it WAS fun, wasn't it?

Back to the reason for this post. SnoWhite over at Finding Joy in my Kitchen, posted a recipe for Blueberry Cornmeal Breakfast Cookies last week. This got me to thinking. DS#1 (Pea Picker) likes to pick at the muffins I make. I asked him one day, "WHY?!" "The top is the best part!" was his answer. For the record, I AM his mother, not Elaine. At any rate. SnoWhite's post got me to thinking. Why not make muffins, and cook them on a cookie sheet. Immediate muffin tops without an extra pan. So that is just what I did this morning.

Banana Muffin Tops

3 cups white wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
4 mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt

1.Preheat oven to 350º.
2.In a medium bowl mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.
3.In a separate bowl cream oil and sugar, add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in milk and mashed banana and mix well.
4.Fold in flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until combined.
5.Using a large cookie scoop, place batter on parchment-lined baking sheet.
6.Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

Results: No more ravaged muffins.
Added bonus: Delighted shouts of "Cookies . . . for breakfast!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fondant Fun

O.K., so I live with my head stuck in a backwards time warp. We do not have TV. Well, we HAVE a TV, but we do not get basic cable, cable or satellite. No TV stations come through on our set.

We do however have Netflix. And we do log onto So, through Netflix, I discovered Cake Boss. I got hooked, so I took myself down to the local Michaels, and signed up for a cake decorating in fondant class.

Tonight was my final class, and I just had to share my "masterpiece."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ravioli Salad

Last night, I was late getting started on dinner. Really late. Like 7:30 PM late. So, what to do on short notice for something good, yet fast and filling. Solution. Rob the pantry. Here's what I came up with. It will be a regular for us.

Ravioli Salad

2/3 package Trader Joes mini cheese-filled ravioli

½ cup olive oil

6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

1 pound cooked, diced chicken breast OR 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced

2 carrots, grated

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook ravioli according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and ground pepper in serving bowl. Mix with a whisk to emulsify. When pasta reached desired tenderness, drain and add to serving bowl, stirring to coat. Add chicken, cucumber, carrots, basil and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Eureka Spaghetti Sauce

I crave spaghetti and meatballs on a fairly regular basis. I try and try to make the spaghetti sauce I crave, but cannot achieve it--until now.

This is the spaghetti sauce I made this evening. Here's the thing, though: very rarely do I follow a recipe. I just like to cook my way. So the measurements are approximate.

Eureka Spaghetti Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground dried thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced

Heat a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When warm, add the onion, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add ground beef, and cook until no longer pink. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook until heated through. Add oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, granulated sugar and red wine. Cook for 20 minutes. Stir in basil when ready to serve.

This is the spaghetti sauce I have been looking for. I will have to try it with meatballs, but this is IT. I think the secret of the sauce is the red wine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Swimming upstream

Yesterday, I had a busy day planned. I was sitting at my table writing down exactly what I was going to do to accomplish my goals for the day, when I heard, “CRASH! BANG!” from my youngest child's room. I went running, only to discover complete chaos.

He had built a “fort” from blankets and chairs that encompassed almost the entire room. He was doing some rearranging by picking up a chair to move it, when the chair came in contact with his beta fish bowl. The bowl when flying. Stinky fish water drenched blankets, sleeping bag and floor. We desperately tried to locate little Razzy (the fish) to no avail. He was not among the glass rocks that covered the floor. He was not sitting in stinky fish water that stood on the desk.

What was a mother to do? I started cleaning up the disaster area. Dripping blankets were put in one pile. Toys and art projects had to be removed from the desk and wiped down to prevent permanent fishy water smell. There was water under the computer, all over the desk, and, of course, soaking into the carpet.

The seven year old? He was crying. The older two were fussing. I decided to call a family prayer meeting to pray for comfort, strength, and forgiveness for the loss of the fish.

Even after I had gotten all visible water cleaned up, there was still no sign of Razzy. I pulled the desk away from the wall to wipe down dripping, running water, and there, behind the desk was the fish. At least 10 minutes had elapsed since the accident. Surly he was a goner. I instructed my son to pick up the fish with a tissue. Crying, he decided that he should dispose of the fish in the toilet. Second later, I hear, “He's alive! He's moving!” No. He couldn't be. But, yes, he was, and he was trying to swim down the toilet.

I donned rubber gloves and retrieved Razzy from his porcelain grave. I didn't give him much hope. He wasn't swimming well. He was kind of laying on his side. My son decided to pray. He wanted me to pray with him. Trying not to verbally doubt, I bowed my head as he prayed.

More than 24 hours later, Razzy is still swimming around, and there is no lingering fishing smell!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ice Cream Maker Giveaway

SnoWhite over at Finding Joy in my Kitchen is hosting a wonderful give-a-way of two Cuisinart automatic ice cream makers!

My ice cream maker recently died. I have to say that it died in the middle of making a batch of ice cream. We had everything mixed up, went to turn the thing on, and . . . NOTHING. I had to stir the stuff by hand. Not the most fun thing ever. It turned out O.K., but I was still down an ice cream maker. Needless to say, I am excited at the prospect of winning another.

Hop on over and visit SnoWhite's blog. You will love it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yummy Tummy Stromboli

Yes, it has been a while since I posted. I haven't really cooked/baked anything I felt worthy of a blog entry--until tonight.

Today was stressful. I had intended to go help in my boys' science class, but I was given the opportunity to catch my breath, so I came home to cook. Here is the result:

Yummy Tummy Stromboli

1 double recipe Quick and Easy Pizza Crust - modified as below

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast OR 5-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons honey
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups white wheat flour
1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried basil

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and honey in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flours, salt, oil, garlic powder and basil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes. (This is the direction for the original recipe, and it really does make great dough this way. However, I had to go pick up the boys, so mine rose for an hour. I used the Kitchen Aid to mix it and allowed it to knead for 8 minutes before the rise.)


olive oil for pan
1 onion, sliced
several cloves of garlic crushed (to your taste)
1 10 oz. bag sliced crimini mushrooms (from Trader Joes--regular white mushrooms would work, too)
2 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
1-1/2 pounds chicken Italian sweet sausage
goat cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in olive oil, and cook onion until soft. Add garlic, mushrooms and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until soft. Remove and set aside.

Brown sausage in same skillet. Add sausage to vegetables and mix to combine.

Divide dough in half and roll each half out. I used a flexible cutting mat to roll my dough, and rolled it to the dimensions of the mat.

Put half the sausage veggie mix onto half of the dough. Top with goat cheese - amount to your preference. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and seal the edges. Move to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough and filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Allow to rest for five minutes before slicing.

Enjoy! Oh my, yummy, yummy, yummy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bubbie-Boy's Science Lab

My little chemist. I pray he doesn't 1) harm himself or 2) blow up our home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pea-Picker's Breakfast

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this creation.

I make my own yogurt and this is the first time I sweetened and flavored it before allowing it to culture. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

So, this yogurt parfait started with our very own vanilla yogurt. Then I layered on blueberry flax granola and chopped strawberries and repeated the layers.

It just looked so pretty, I had to share!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oven Baked Corn Dogs

Today we had a snow day. (Yes, we live in an area that is normally not associated with snow, but I will talk about that in a different post.) On the way home, I got a hankering (yes, I'm a Southern girl) for corn dogs. Corn dogs are not on my short list of foods I eat. Way too much fat. So, I improvised. Bubbie-boy and I made:

Oven Baked Corn Dogs

1-1/2 cups cornmeal
1-1/2 cups white wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
2 pkg. hot dogs (we like 97% fat free by Hebrew National)

Preheat oven to 425º. Mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup) beat together eggs, oil and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Dip hot dogs into cornmeal mixture. I found it best to coat one side, place that cornmeal side down on a parchment covered cookie sheet, and spread more cornmeal on top. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Remember when I said, "Bubbie-boy and I made . . ." Well, if it had just been me, I would have tried to make our corn dogs look a little better. But really, I feel much happier knowing that the Bubbie-boy felt good about himself because he helped Momma make dinner.

Home or Science Lab

Well, science lab may be taking it too far, but this year has been one consumed with science for us.

Our homeschool group has a science club--Quest Science Club. This was the second year they had a science fair. We entered last year and got hooked. (O.K., momma-teacher got hooked. The kids just didn't stand a chance against getting out of it this year.)

This was the first year we participated in the regional science fair--SARSEF. This fair included students from homeschools, public schools, private schools and charter schools.

I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the results:

Horse Girl's project was Fluffy Stacks of Perfection. In this project, she tried to find out what liquid and leavening agent produced the fluffiest pancakes (buttermilk and baking powder, in case you are wondering). At Quest, she received a $25.00 culinary award and a certificate to make hand-tossed pizza at a local pizza restaurant. She did not place at SARSEF, but we are very happy, non-the-less.

Pea Picker did a project with his dad. Being the trap and skeet shooter he is, Pea Picker did a project along those lines--Shooting Up a Pattern measured the patterning effects of steel and lead shot (lead patterns better). At Quest, Pea Picker took the WOW award from Mad Science and he also won the best notebook. At SARSEF, he won a second place prize in his grade level.

Bubbie-Boy is my chemistry guy. He loves to mix potions. In The Amazing Inflating Balloon he mixed different household liquids (vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and Coke) with substances (yeast, pop rocks, baking soda and Alka Seltzer) to see which produced the best chemical reaction to blow up balloons. At Quest, he won best display board with good science. At SARSEF he took a second place prize.

I am tired and ready to hang up my lab coat--oh, wait, Horse Girl will be starting her project for next year in a couple of weeks. Maybe I will just give my lab coat a good washing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Multi-Grain Pancakes (+ Additions)

My dear, sweet friend and neighbor, Lara, shared this recipe with me. She brought over the mix and the recipe card, and we were able to mix up pancakes when we needed them. We think they are our new favorite pancake recipe (and we LOVE pancakes).

Multigrain Pancakes
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup butter, melted*
3 Tbs. syrup*
2 eggs, beaten

*Because I cannot just leave well enough alone (and believe me, these pancakes are good just as they are), I always have to change something in a recipe. Today Bubbie-boy and I made them with the following changes:
replaced butter with oil
replaced syrup with 2 Tbs. brown sugar
added 1 tsp. vanilla
added 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Bubbie-boy's request)

Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and cook on a hot griddle.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lemon Bundt Cake

Wow! I'm on a roll! Two posts in one day.

Don't get too used to it.

So, where we live, it is the time of year when lemons are in abundance. Hubby likes bundt cakes and I have a huge bowl of lemons, so . . .

Lemon Bundt Cake

1 cup white wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Heat oven to 350º. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix in lemon zest. Add oil, juice, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat well. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it tests done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen from sides of pan. Warm 1/4 cup lemon juice in microwave for about 40 seconds. Mix in confectioner's sugar until dissolved. Pour around outside edges of pan. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate.

Beef Noodle Bowl

Yes, I know it has been a while since I have been here, but I think about my little spot on the web quite a bit.

Last night I made a recipe inspired by I customized the Beef Noodle Bowl for our family.

Beef and Noodle Bowl - Kraft Foods (Modified by Snow White and Frog Prince)
*further modified by A Desire to be Heard

1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
*five serving size
3 C broccoli florets
3 carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1.5 C)
*I think I used four carrots total
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into strips
*1-1/2 lbs.
*1/2 red onion, sliced
*garlic cloves, to taste, minced
*1/2 head cabbage shredded
1/4 C Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian Dressing
*I probably used about 1/2 cup total Kraft's Light House Italian
1/4 C Soy Sauce, low sodium
*ground ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Toss with approximately 1/4 cup salad dressing. Set aside.

Steam carrots and broccoli to desired tenderness.

Heat about 1 tablespoon canola oil in a pan. Add onion and minced garlic. Saute for about 1 minute. Add beef, and cook, stirring, until cooked through. Add cabbage. After a few minutes add about 1/4 cup salad dressing, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes longer until sauce is thickened.

Combine noodles, carrots and broccoli and beef mixture.

Serve and enjoy!

"Thanks, SnoWhite, for the recipe.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our New Year Celebration

Well, it's 2010. Hmmm . . . I don't feel any different; only amazed that an new year yawns before me. 2009 went by very quickly--it's unbelievable.

So, last night, we allowed the kids to stay up past midnight (they get such a kick out of doing that). I am pretty done with killing myself cooking, so we had a simple meal:

Grilled Chicken Sausage in Snuggles from Sprouts
French Fries with a cheese sauce from Trader Joes
Sour Cream and Onion potato chips (a request by DD)

For dessert:

Quick Yellow Cake*

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening**
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350º. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Add shortening, milk and vanilla. Beat on medium*** for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat for 30 seconds more. Bake in greased 13x9 pan for 35 minutes, or until pick comes out clean.

*I halved the whole recipe and baked in an 8x8 pan.
**Replaced shortening with oil
***I didn't feel like dragging out the mixer, so I used a whisk, and I didn't beat for the allotted time.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

1 cup cocoa
1 cup hot water
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Place cocoa, hot water, sugar and salt in a large saucepan (allow room for stirring). Stir the ingredients until they begin to blend. Don't worry about the lumps--they'll dissolve during cooking. Then turn heat to medium and stir constantly (burns easily) and carefully. When it comes to a boil, continue cooking and stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Store in the refrigerator.