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