Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas details!

Hey there all. Well I wanted to give some better detail about Christmas this year.
I was such a dope and did not bring my camera. We had a pretty low key holiday. My mom made some super awesome fried chicken for our dinner...I had to take a 3 hour nap to recover from. But let me back up a bit. Santa brought many presents this year. Zach got a John Deere bike with a John Deere helmet, knee pads and elbow pads. He got a set of old fashioned tinker toys, a battery operated fishing game(he cheats when playing), a new portable DVD player, a remote controlled construction vehicle, new playdough, tons of clothes, and some other stuff I can't remember. This kid is so spoiled!
He had fun helping me finish cheesecakes, here he is enjoying leftover chocolate:
Santa brought me this new toy:
Well Santa provided most of the monies for it..baking money paid for the rest!
I also got a Le Crueset baking dish and a Pampered Chef Pizza kitchen toys are always welcomed here.
Gene got a Sears gift card, new PJ's, and a Field and Stream script for the year.
He seemed happy..of course he always saya he does not want anything. Scrooge!
I hope everyone had a great Holiday. I now have to gear up for our New Years party.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here at last:

Well we survived X-mas..I will post some pics later.
Just to get you in the mood here is my dinner recipe for tonight:

Crockpot Pork with cranberry sauce:
Baked sweet potatoes
herbed noodles

2 lbs boneless pork
1 can cranberry sauce
1/2 can of water
1 package onion soup mix
Use cooking spray to cover in the inside of crock-pot. Place all ingedients in crock, cook on low 6-8 hours.
I can't remember where I got this recipe but I wrote it down sometime ago and have been waiting to use it, since my guys like cranberry stuff.

Edited to Add:
I added a bag of colesalw mix to this since it seemed thin. Cooked for a few more hours, then added a tablespoon of beef stuff from the better then boullion jar, some minced garlic, and pepper. Later took some of the broth out added a few tablespoons of corn starch, added that, let it thicken. Then cooked a bag of the frozen thick egg noodles. Added that, and this dish was divine. I am calling it Sweet and Sour German pork and noodles.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Here and then gone!

Well I know I have been gone for a few weeks..but let me just tell you I have been one busy lady! I have been babysitting like mad and baking and shopping and such. You know the usual X-mas type of stuff that one has to do, before going away for the holiday. We are not going far, just to my mom's house but still.

Zach has been a real butt lately and I have been using the cheap threat of "Santa is not going to bring you presents if you are bad". He just laughs at me and tells me that is not true. He knows us too well...

I am done shopping and baking and I am looking forward to going to my mom's...despite the fact I know it will be loud and dysfunctional...but hey its home. For now I have to pack my clothes and convince Zach to take a much needed bath. Merry Christmas...I can say that instead of Happy Holidays...we actually celebrate Christmas in our home!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cookie order!

Well I completed my cookie order...with little time to spare. They are to be picked up today at 4:30! And if you are wondering what 20 boxes of cookies look like:
Now on to the begin on Monday.
I hosted a small playgroup here today, the kids had a really great time and I made a few new friends. But what I am really excited's babysitting night at the pre-school. So a quick night out for Gene and I, and its very much needed. Toodles

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The final strech

Well here I am in the final strech of cookie baking when my dough fails last batch of dough is not rising properly...argggg. Only 6 more dozen to go. I guess I better make another batch, cause this one is bunk!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I sit here in a quandry. A conversation with my mother. A phone call to her from a great aunt with strong political beliefs. She left this long message on my mom's machine about how Obama is not a citzen, he does not even have a birth certificate. Even my mom was annoyed...and she is a staunch Mccain supporter. How can someone actually believe that they would even let him be president, without evidence of citzenry??? How can she be this misinformed and think that it true?? How many others are there like her?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Camera Batteries replaced!

Whew..been awhile since I uploaded some pics.
Blueberry Jam..its delish and I expect to sell out soon.
carrots fresh picked this morning..brr were my hands cold from picking these.
My baby turns five, taken at my mom's.
Zach's trip to the cereal bar. That bowl contains Reeses puffs, reeses pieces and chocolate milk...ughhh sweet overload.
Maria and her son D at Zach's party. I love yah Maria!
Tye Dyeing at Zach's party..our wash cloths turned out great!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This week's menu

Mini Meatloaves
Mashed potatoes
steamed green beans

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 package of dried onion soup mix(make sure to mix it up so you get some powder and not just the onions)
1 tsp salt and pepper each
1/2 tablespoons mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Combine all meatloaf ingredients, shape into little loaves(about 8 football shaped loaves). Mix sauce ingredients and spoon some over each loaf. Cook at 350 for about 35-45 minuted or until done.

Sesame Chicken and Noodles
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp asian garlic-chili sauce(not to be confused with ketchup style chili sauce)
1 lb cooked boneless skinless chicken breast
cooked udon or spaghetti noodles (enough for four servings)around 12oz dried
3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 jar roasted red peppers

Stir together vinegar, onions, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic-chili sauce. Heat chicken in pan with 1 tsp oil. Add mixture, heat and then set aside. Cook noodles, drain toss with oil, and place in frying pan with chicken mixture. Add drained roasted red peppers and heat. Serve.

Red Beans and Rice

2 cans kidney beans dark or light undrained
3 tblsp Cumin
2 tblsp minced dried onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tblsp chili powder
2 tblsp hot sauce of your choice to taste
16 oz smoked sausage ring thinly sliced
4 C hot cooked white rice
opt garnishes: minced green pepper, sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese

Pour beans into large skillet or pan along with the juices in the can. Add spices, onion, garlic and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 min. Add sausage and cook additional 7-10 min. Serve over hot cooked rice, and garnish as wanted. Leftovers taste even better the next day. If you want a vegitarian meal you can always substitute a vegetable or meat alternative for the sausage.

Unstuffed Cabbage

1 large head cabbage
1 ginger ale
28 - 32 oz. Heinz ketchup
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 med onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3-4 egg whites
1/4 cup raw rice
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
brown sugar
cider vinegar

Trim and core the cabbage and cut it into one-inch strips. Put the strips into an 8-quart dutch oven or stock pot and add the ginger ale and ketchup. Bring to a boil, stir, cover and let simmer while you prepare the meat.
Put the ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Grate the onion over the beef and mix it in with your hands. Manually work in the egg as well, then the rice. Form into 6 - 10 patties no more than 1" thick (they'll plump up as they cook).
After the cabbage has simmered for 15 minutes, stir again and add the meat patties carefully in two layers, being sure that the sauce and cabbage completely surround and cover each patty. I dissolve brown sugar in a little water and add now, then sour vinegar to your taste
Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Serve over hot white rice in soup plates.

Chili Dogs
raw veggies

Out to dinner cause we have babysitting!

X-mas party! No cooking!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cherry Jam

A small hiccup at open gym so we came home early...alas inspiration! I made some yummy dark sweet cherry jam. I stumbled upon some frozen organic ones on sale at Dillon's. I am over whelmed by the demand for jam all of a sudden. I will post some pics later. It's super awesome tasting...mmmm

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grats on Thursday

1. Turkey Bacon umm..yummy
2. Footie pajamas on my son, wicked cute.
3. The frost on my window and the sun that shines through it.
4. Good friends.
5. Soft blankets.
6. VHS tapes, endless building possibilities for the kids.(who knew they were so much fun?)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well today I started my baking...akk I am panicking, now realizing I need 40 dozen cookies by the 10th and 12 cheesecakes by the 15th. OY VEY..what did I get my self into?? I have been baking all day and almost have all the sugar cookies made, now I have to make shortbread, chocolate chip and then a white chocolate and cranberry cookie. Well off to check the oven. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happiness is a well oiled Monday... kinda

I started watching another little guy today. It's a winter arrangement, I will be underpaid..but it is what it is. I took the kids to open gym and ran into another mom there from the preschool. We had nice conversation, and I like her well. I got squat done in the baking dept, but managed to find a cheaper solution for my box needs for my giant baking order, a huge load off of me. Zach has been fairly horrible lately, talking back, and being fresh in general. I think Santa might just have to leave him a hug lump of coal this year instead of the bike we want to get him. I started laying out the patter for Zach's X-mas present from me..pajamas. Gene is getting socks and a subscription to a hunting magazine, and that aforementioned lump of coal.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I went to the Unitarian Fellowship this morning. I very much enjoyed it too. Nothing too exciting, we were unable to make the actual spiritual service but made it for the later service. There were candles to light to express joys or sorrows, and a beautiful concert of harp and flute music. It made me realize how much a part of my life music used to be for me. Sure I listen to the radio and kids songs now, but that is about it. I have let the people in my life navigate that they don't like music that much, so I can't listen to it.. NOT ANYMORE! I will listen to music as much as I want, and whatever I want. It is a good happy place for me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Well we got Thanksgiving over and done with, now we just have to get through X-mas and New Years. Here is a menu to help with foody stuff. enjoy. E


Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large onion, diced
1 (8 ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ teaspoons each salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon corstarch(or more as needed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3 lb) beef chuck roast or steak, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until tender. Add mushrooms and stir. Add tomato paste, salt, black pepper and stir until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix broth, soy sauce and some cornstarch. Add the broth mixture in the bowl to the onion and mushroom mixture in the skillet and stir to combine. Cook and stir until both mixtures are combined and thickened. Transfer this skillet mixture into a slow cooker.
Using the same skillet, heat the pan on medium high heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When oil is hot, add beef. Brown beef on all sides. Beef will brown if you let it “stick” a little, rather than constantly stirring. If you double this recipe, it will help to brown only ½ of the meat at a time.
Transfer beef to slow cooker, scraping pan well. Cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or on high for 5-7 hours. Meat is done when it is fork tender (usually the longer it cooks the better). Use a large spoon and remove any visible fat that is on top (the fat will be a clear color, rather than a beef color).
Place the sour cream into a small bowl and add 1 cup of liquid from the slow cooker, stirring well. Return the beefy /sour cream mixture into the slow cooker and stir well. Serve over egg noodles.


Oven baked Hot Ham and Cheese
oven fries
steamed green beans

Ham and Cheese:
8 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 tablespoon poppy seeds(omit if you don't like or don't have)
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
8 hamburger buns
8 slices of cheese(I prefer Muenster)
1 1/2 lbs of shaved or shredded ham

Mix onion, butter, seeds, mustard powder, and sauce together. Spread onto hamburger buns. Put ham on bottom of buns, topped with one slice of cheese. Wrap each bun in foil. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Cheesy Baked chicken with tomatoes
Rice and peas

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
¼ cup flour
2 Tablespoon dried oregano or basil, divided
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 Tablespoons, olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 ounces, softened cream cheese
1/3 cup skim milk
1 Tablespoon, softened butter
½ cup, parmesan cheese

Combine flour, 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano, salt and paprika in a shallow dish. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Dredge each piece of chicken in flour mixture and place in heated skillet. Brown both sides of chicken and transfer chicken to a 9x13x2glass baking dish.
In the same skillet, sauté the onions, add the un-drained tomatoes and 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk and butter. Spread the cream cheese mixture over each piece of chicken. Pour the tomato mixture over the cream cheese coated chicken and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 350° for at least 30 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with cooked basmati rice and peas.

Baked potato bar:
Make baked potatoes in oven, microwave or crockpot.
Serve with varied toppings:
Sour cream
steamed broccoli
grilled onions
taco meat
Whatever things your family likes. :)


Spinach Linguine and Bay Scallops
(If you don't like scallops or can't afford them use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut up)
1 lb bay scallops
1 box spinach linguine
Heat water and cook linguine as you make sauce
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup whipping cream
1 7.25-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomatoes, cream, red peppers and crushed red pepper; simmer over medium heat 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup basil and simmer 1 minute longer.
Saute defrosted or fresh bay scallops for 2-3 minutes in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add sauce and scallops to pasta, toss and serve.

Spinach and Goat cheese quesadillas
refried beans with cheese
salsa and sour cream

8 flour tortillas
1 small package of goat cheese
1 bunch of baby spinach(fresh) washed and dried
cayenne pepper
olive oil

Heat skillet to medium high. Place one tortilla in pan, top with 1/2- 1 tablespoon of cheese on tortilla top with a small handful of spinach top with a little more cheese and a very small spinkle of cayenne(more if you like it hot)top with tortilla, brown on both side remove and cut into wedges, serve with refreid beans and cheese and sour cream and salsa if desired.

With all this great food you would be lucky to have leftovers, if you do heat them up and serve them tonight. If not, either make a quick homemade pizza or get some takeout!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ACKKK..its Tuesday already

Well Zach's party was a blast..slow going, but then it was crazy. I lost my camera somewhere in the party mix and my friend M took pics with her if she would send me some pics I will post some..hint..hint..if you are reading this.
We had 24 kids come even though we invited like 35. We ran out of pizza, everyone had a great time in the moon bounce. Many kids tye dyed thier washcloths and the swingset gots lots of love, we threw our waterballoons at the fake fire, even though many of the balloons did not want to We sang Happy Birthday and ate cake and ice cream..we opened some presents..but not all of them..24 was sooo many!
Most ppl went home..a few stayed for drinks. My camera woman stayed latest, even sweeping the rock woman. The fireman party was a success!
Now we are packing to leave for a few days, off to my mom's house for Turkey/Zach day. My baby is almost 5!
Before I go here is great recipe I made with some grilled shrimp the other night:
Green Coconut Rice
1 can coconut milk...the regular stuff not the fat free junk
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 bunch fresh spinach washed, dried and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary

Place milk, water, butter and rice into pan. Bring to boil, add spinach and rosemary. Cook until rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Eat..

Friday, November 21, 2008

Party Day tomorrow!

Well Sat is Zach's big party day! We have wash cloths to tye dye and a pinate to hit, a fire to put"out" with water ballons, and fire truck to pin the wheel on! That should be enought to keep them we still have the bouncy house. We will be serving pizza and juice, with a veggie platter , and bowls of crackers and chips. I am making wings for the after party.. for the folks who are staying to thier drink on and people are bringing thier own alcohol. We will burn the brush pile to keep warm and if people don't have agood time its thier own darn
I am sure I will colapse in a pile at the end of the day. Today I must clean the house..arg..

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthday stuff..

Well I am frantically getting ready for Zach's party. Making up games and stuff is fun! I finally got the goodie bags done.
And if you are wondering that is what 35 homemade goodie bags look like.
Today's chore..curtains!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I was finding much joy tonight..with my coffee. Let me explain further. I bought four pounds of Organic Free Trade whole bean coffee. (the most we have ever had)
I used my little coffee grinder to well...grind it up. I really enjoyed using my hands to scoop up the beans. The smell and feel of them was a nice sensory experience. The almost oily touch, and shiny beans. I was trying to think abut what it took to get them to me. How can it be better, even if they are fair trade, and organic. What about the fossil fuels it took for me to get them? How about the living conditions of the workers? What does organic mean in the country that they came from? I guess I will just be happy being the lucky American to have my shiny fancy beans to play with.

Week in review plus a menu

Wow how the times blows by..
We had a fairly low key week, I am getting ready for Zach's party next sat. So that has been keeping me busy. I have sort of lost track of how many ppl are coming...who cares it will be fun no matter what. I am trying to spruce up the house a bit too..this is a never ending process.
Gene got me this great bench/church pew thing which we be great in the living room. It will provide excellent seating.


Scalloped potatoes and Ham
sweet peas

Scalloped potatoes and ham:
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed ham (cooked)
1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top

Serve with steamed peas

This is a highly requested repeat. With a few quick changes.
Sausage and Bean stoup
1lb smoked sausage cut into slices
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can red kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced dried onion(used because I had no fresh)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 bunch of fresh greens diced
1 ½ cups dried pasta
2 cups chicken broth.

Add a tablespoon of water to frying pan, add dried onions and sausage. Cook until sausage is slightly browned. Add to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients except pasta. Cook on high one hour, low until ready to add pasta. Add pasta cook on low for another ½ hour. Serve with warm bread.

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches
Baked Beans

Cut up and marinate Tempeh in BBQ sauce for one hour. Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve on buns with canned baked beans and prepared colesalw.

Veggie lasagne
green salad
garlic bread

1 pkg. lasagna
3 med. zucchini
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 lg. pkg. Mozzarella cheese
1 16 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 lg. can tomato sauce
1 white onion
1 Pkg. fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 green pepper
Olive oil

Empty sauce into pan (low heat). Saute chopped onion and crushed garlic in olive oil. Add to sauce. Saute chopped green pepper and sliced mushrooms in olive oil and add to sauce. Let simmer. Slice zucchini, boil, saute lightly and set aside.
Mix Ricotta cheese and defrosted spinach in bowl. You can add 1 egg and some milk to make creamy. Cook lasagna noodles as directed. Add 1 tsp. olive oil to the water. Layer sauce in bottom of pan, then noodles, more sauce, zucchini, Ricotta cheese, Mozzarella, noodles, sauce, etc. Top layer should be: noodles, sauce, Ricotta, Mozzarella. Bake at 350 F for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Cover with aluminum foil, place foil on cookie sheet under pan to catch boil over. Let set 1/2 hour before cutting.
Serve with a green salad and some fresh garlic bread.

Leftover night
Take out leftovers let everyone choose what they want and re-heat as needed.

Zach's party
order out pizza
have things to make wings on hand

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fall Festival

Zach's school had a fall festival today. I hosted a jam booth. OMG! I made around $250 in about 3 hours. It was great to unload some jam and make some MOOLAH. I did have to give the school 10% and had to pay for the booth, but I still think I did alright. I pre-sold jars of jam for X-mas, and someone wants to buy a large order of cheesecakes and cookies for thier company..WOOT! Raking in the dough. I am wiped outta jam though.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Next Week's Menu

Steak (broiled)
Baked potatoes
(We are having steaks because I got 3 T-bone steaks on sale for $7, a super bargain!)

Tuna Noodle casserole
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 (8 ounce) package uncooked medium egg noodles
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons mashed up french fried onions
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a medium baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and chicken bouillon cube, continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl, mix with french fried onions, and sprinkle over the casserole. Top with cheese.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Chili Dogs
raw veggies
(I bought some organic turkey hot dogs from our co-op, at a great price, and split the case with a few other families)
I have some homemade chili in the freezer but canned is just fine.
We will be having some of our carrots from the garden and some organic celery sticks.

(Remember that pesto you bought a few weeks ago? Now you get to use it up.)
Baked Pesto Salmon
steamed green beans
mac and cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil. Place one tablespoon of pesto onto each piece of salmon. Bake about 12 to 16 minutes until done.
Serve with mac and cheese (we like any Annie's variety)

Crock-pot Vegetarian Minestrone soup
Grilled cheese sandwiches

6 cups vegetable broth
2 large carrots chopped
2 onions chopped
3 ribs of celery chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 small zucchini diced
1 handful fresh greens chopped (kale, spinach, or the like) may sub. frozen
1/2 cup dry barley
1 can chick peas
1 can red kidney beans
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
28 oz can of plum/Italian tomatoes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup of penne pasta
Toss everything into crock pot, cook on low 6-8 hours, putting pasta in last 1/2 hour of cooking. Serve with yummy grilled cheese sandwiches. Freeze leftover soup for lunches. :)

Stir-fried Cashew chicken and rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 frozen sugar snap peas
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 medium green onions, sliced (2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup salted roasted cashew halves and pieces

Saute chicken in oil for about 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
Steam broccoli in microwave for 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Place in frying pan with peas, 1/2 cup broth, red pepper flakes, ginger, and chicken. Cook for 2 minutes.
In small bowl, mix remaining broth, the soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch and sugar; stir into chicken mixture. Add onions; cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over rice; sprinkle with cashews.

Tortilla Pie with black beans and corn

4-5 large flour tortillas
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cans black beans
1 can or 1 package frozen corn
1 small bunch green onions diced
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in a pan, saute onion, garlic and cumin. Mix with the corn and black beans. Season with salt and pepper. Layer tortillas into deep round casserole dish or a springform pan. Layer with bean mixture topped with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions, serve with sour cream and salsa.
Things are tight around here, but I think I can still make food that tstes good and is fairly cost efficient.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We made some amazing muffins for breakfast.. They are by no means healthy..but delish anyways.
Cheddar Bacon Muffins
4 bacon strips crumbled
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 large egg well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
4 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
Parmesan for sprinkling on muffins

Heat oven to 400, heavily grease a 12 cup muffin pan. Cook bacon, cool then crumble and reserve 3 tablespoons of grease. Mix ingredients, making sure to pour in cold milk before the grease if its still warmed. Fill muffin cups 2/3rds full or evenly to make 12 muffins, sprinkle a little parmesan onto each muffin. Bake for about 20 minutes watching closely until done.
Mine looked like this:

Here are some wonderful turnips from our garden. They taste sooo good, and fresh. Gene says they are the best he has ever had..
To cook them:
Slice and boil like potatoes(fresh ones need not be peeled), drain and mash adding butter, salt and pepper and a wee bit of brown sugar to taste and take away the bitter taste.

Here is a shy guy..guess he does not want his picture taken this week:
See what I mean...haha. Evie

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weeked review

Well we had a pretty busy weekend, it being Halloween and all. Took Zach downtown trick or treating. There was an awesomely cute 2 yr old dressed as a white leather Elvis...sooo funny, wish I had a pic to share.
Gene worked all day Sat, and hunted half of Sunday. He did not get anything, so no deer meat for us..oh well.
I made some pretty amazing cinnamon sugar bagles and some apricot bars...yummy.
Zach's room got mega cleaned on Sat. and I think I found a bunkbed for us to buy. It's a blue metal one with a full on the bottom and twin on the top.. I hope Gene lets me buy it.
Zach and I have been talking about when you turn 5 you sleep in your own bed in your own would be awesome to take back our room..and I would improve our relationship in many ways..I think...
We skipped a costume party on Sat. so I may never see Gene in his Hulk costume again..maybe next year. toodles

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Menu for next week.

I love to cook, but I really love to cook when the weather is cool. Here is my menu for next week, I think its pretty low key and user friendly. This week I have included a shopping list to make it easier to plan ahead. Enjoy! Evie
Pork Ribs and Sauerkraut
mashed potatoes
1 lb. sauerkraut well drained
3/4 onion diced
1-1/4 cups canned stewed tomatoes
3-1/2 Tbs. brown sugar packed
1-2 lbs. country style pork ribs

Layer ingredients into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes.

Peas and Pasta with Cheese
2 ounces Gorgonzola or blue cheese mashed
2 tsp. unsalted butter softened
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Swiss cheese
1 Tbs. virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. sun dried tomatoes chopped
2 cups frozen peas
1 lb. small shell pasta
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped

Combine Gorgonzola cheese and butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring until cheese and butter are melted. Combine next 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Place peas in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Drain. Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Pork and pepper quesadillas
Leftover pork
green, red or yellow peppers(1-1 1/2 depending on pepper size)
grilled onions made from one sliced onion(make two and save one for later)
mexican blend cheese
6 inch flour tortillas
Olive oil

Slice onion and grill in sauce pan with some olive oil until soft and caramelized.
Slice peppers and saute for 2 minutes. Shred leftover pork. Heat pan to medium, lightly oil pan with olive oil. Place one tortilla in pan, sprinkle lightly with cheese then layer with pork, peppers and onions. Sprinkle with more cheese and cover with another tortilla. Flip over after the cheese has began to melt, and tortilla is browned. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa for dipping. Heat up canned refried beans for a yummy side.

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Parmesan
leftover mashed potatoes
steamed carrots

1 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/4 cup plain breadcumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Zest of one lemon
Course salt and pepper
4-5 bone-in chicken breast halves(3 lbs)Reserving one for later
Olive oil

Line a baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment. Mix parsley, zest, breadcrumbs, cheese and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Loosen the skin of the chicken, tuck some of the mixture under the skin of each breast piece. Drizzle olive oil over all the pieces Bake at 450 degrees until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked, 30 minutes or so. Sevrve with leftover mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.

Ravioli Baked with spinach
5 cups canned or homemade spaghetti sauce
2 pounds frozen ravioli
2 cups mozzarella
1/2 grated parmesan
1 bunch spinach or one box frozen(deftosted and drained)
green salad

Cook ravioli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain. Toss with sauce, place in large casserole dish, layering with spinach and cheese, reserving lots of cheese for the top. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden. Serve with a green salad.

White Chicken Chili
½ Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic
leftover cooked cubed chicken
1 can Northern white beans
1 c chicken broth
½ c salsa
Heat thoroughly. Serve with grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, onion and crushed tortilla chips.

Greek Style turkey burgers

Prepared tzatziki sauce
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 small onion minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta
coarse salt and pepper
4 pita pocket bread rounds
2 medium tomatoes(sliced)
grilled onions(from earlier in the week)
cucumber peeled and sliced
Oven baked fries

Heat oven and cook fries according to package directions.
Combine turkey, onion, parsley, oregano, feta and salt and pepper. Make about 16 small patties, no more than 3/4 inch thick. Cook 3-5 minutes each side over medium heat.
Heat grilled onions. Serve burgers in pita bread with tzatziki sauce, cukes, onions and tomatoes. Round out your plate with fries.

Shopping list:
1-2lbs country style pork ribs
4-5 bone-in chicken breasts
1 1/2lbs ground turkey
1 bag of potatoes
4 onions
sun dried tomatoes
frozen peas
1-2 peppers(green red or yellow, your choice)
2 bunches parsley
3 tomatoes(one for salad)
1 cucumber (1/2 for salad and 1/2 for sat.)
1 lemon
1 bunch spinach(or one box frozen)
salad mix
1 lb sauerkraut
2 cans stewed tomatoes
brown sugar
1 lb shell pasta
6-inch flour tortillas
2 jars spaghetti sauce
2 lbs frozen ravioli
1 can Northern beans
chicken broth
1 jar salsa
sour cream tortilla chips
pita bread
1 can refried beans
1 package frozen fries
2 oz gorgonzola or blue cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup swiss cheese
8 oz Mexican blend cheese
8 oz feta cheese
1 cup of real shredded Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baking galore

Well typically Monday is my fall/winter baking day. So I made some hamburger buns for last night and future use(froze those).
And since I had a bunch of chopped Kalamata olives leftover from bread baking on Sunday, I made some Kalamata olive bagels.
These are a big hit with the guys, and since I make bagels every couple of weeks, I have a feeling these are going to be requested again and again. They are so good toasted with cream cheese...YUM.
Today was our first frost, we lovingly covered our remaining plants with tarps and are hoping for the best. (yellow beans, spinach, braising greens,carrots, and turnips)
Plans for the hoop house are still in the works and I will probably have to nag to keep it on track....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween party pics

We went to a Halloween pumpkin carving party last night. It was a super hero party. I went as Fat Momma, and Zach as the Hulk. Gene declined the occasion to don a costume. I had a friend take my pic, but it was not super flattering, but hey I am a fat momma...
There were some really great costumes there, like Captain Underpants, Zena the warrior princess, the Champion, Iron girl, two other hulks,and Guitar Hero to name a few.
Here is Zena:
Zena helping the kids:
The champion:
Iron girl:
And I am nt really sure about this one:
But this guys had like two rolls of socks in his
There were lots of goodies, and I made mini mummy dogs..aka pigs in a blanket.
We have a busy week ahead of us. I have three meetings in the evenings, two more parties, and some serious trick or treating to do. I will get some pics of Zach in his Hulk costume...and Gene has a Hulk costume too, but he is not sure if he wants to wear it. I will be using my witch costume from last year for Halloween. Its warmer and easier to get around in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

bulk is good

Well I finally got my bulk stuff. I did not cost that much and its all Organic!
I got flour, sugar, rice and peanut butter.
Now I just have to figure out how to store it. I think I am going to buy some gallon containers. I am getting my "prepared for a year" shelf together. Because you never know when the shit is going to hit the fan.
I think I am really like buying in bulk. It seems cheaper, and now that I have room to store things it makes sense.
Here is a bonus race car driver..
Just another pic in the Zach loves to dress up series.
And if you are reading this Carrie..your box goes out today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The best way to be prepared for your shopping is to know what you want and don't stray from your list. MAKE A MENU. Here is mine for next week:

Crock pot rotisserie chicken
mashed potatoes
steamed carrots

Rotisserie Chicken:
1 chicken at least 4 lbs
Olive oil spray
Seasoned salt

Clean chicken inside and out. Spray with olive oil spray. Sprinkle season salt. Spray inside of crock. Do not put any water in the crock.

Roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2"-3" balls and put them in the
bottom of the crock. The chicken is going to lie on these. Put chicken breast side down in crock on top of aluminum balls. Cook on High (will not come out the same on Low), 4-6 hours. (A 3-lb chicken takes about 4 hours). Serve with hot mashed potatoes and steamed carrots.

Veggie Lo-Mein
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup snow peas, halved on a diagonal
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into match stick size pieces
1/2 pound assorted mushrooms coarsely chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
2 cups fresh bean spouts
2 inches fresh ginger root, minced or grated with hand grater
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lo mein noodles or thin spaghetti, cooked to al dente and drained well
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When pan is very hot, add oil, (it will smoke a bit) then, immediately add the snow peas, pepper, mushrooms, scallions, and bean sprouts. Stir fry for 1 minute to flavor the oil, then add the ginger and garlic, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles and toss with to combine. Add the soy sauce and toss the ingredients to coat noodles evenly with sauce. Transfer the lo mein to a serving platter and garnish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Marinated Pork chops
steamed green beans
mac and cheese

1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh if possible
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 Pork chops

Mix together all the ingredients, except the pork chops.

In a plastic bag, such as a ziplock, put in the pork chops and cover with the marinade. Try to get as much air out of it as possible, and then smush it around, turning it a few times to get all the pork covered and the marinade distributed as evenly as possible. Stick it in the refrigerator for about 30 or so minutes, but no more than 4 hours. Don’t do this over night or the pork will be inedible.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to cook the chops, take out of the refrigerator and bring up to room temp.
If using a broiler, turn it to highest setting. Put the oven rack at the second place down (not the top place just under the broiler), about 6-8 inches below the heating element. Turn the broiler heat to low-medium and cook for about 6-7 minutes, and then turn. Cook for about 4 more minutes, or until the pork chops are no longer pink inside, yet still juicy.

Bean and cheese burritos

Either purchase or make your own bean and cheese burritos, serve with feash or store bought salsa.

Chicken pot pie:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp salad oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp tarragon
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth or homemade
1 c. frozen peas
1 1/4 c. milk
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. Crisco shortening (I used the spectrum stuff)
1 pinch salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp vinegar
Cold water

All you do:
Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. In skillet, heat oil and cook chicken until tender. Remove from pan when done.
In drippings, cook onion until tender.
Add potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, tarragon and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in frozen peas.
In small bowl, mix milk and 2 T. flour until smooth. Stir into vegetable mixture.
Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in chicken.
Pour into unbaked pie crust (recipe follows) and cover with second crust.
Vent and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden-brown and liquid bubbles.
CRUST: Mix together 2-1/2 c. flour, shortening and salt in mixing bowl.
In measuring cup, mix egg and vinegar. Fill with water to make 1 cup.
Add half the liquid to the dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened. Discard remaining liquid. Divide dough in half and roll out crusts. Line pie pan with one crust. Reserve the second crust for the top.

Homemade pizza

Either make or use a sore bought crust. Make and bake pizza, serve with salad.

leftovers or take out! Hey its the weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Midnight talk

DH and I had a good long talk last night. He managed to smooth things over for the time being. We talked a whole lot, and no screaming or shouting either.
I am going to accept that he really does want to try and work it out.

We made plans for builing a hoop house, and talked about extending the garden next year. I plan on looking for a baby swing for the new swing set, so Gwyn will have something to play on too, as there is no slide with our set.

And Carrie if you are reading this: I burned the carrot cake jam, so I did not get your box in the mail yet. I am going to make another batch today and then get it out ASAP. Carrot cake jam is too good to not get.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recovery from Sunday Drama

(this guy is the reason I got up today)
Today was a lot more calm than yesterday. Apparently someone..(not me) wants to pretend nothing happened yesterday, and everything is fine. Well its not. I am still hurting and feeling angry. At least Zach had school and G took a nap while I took a drive out in the country to return some things to a few friends who live out of the way. It was very calming for me, and I enjoyed it very much. This evening after dinner a friend came over and brought us a used swingset, its old but solid. Sitting here I am listening to Zach talk back to his Dad outside, and slam the door to make his point. I thought this kind of behavior was more for teens?? I know he can feel the tension too, and it is not good.

In other happier news, the sausage and bean soup was amazing and even Zach ate it greens and all. And that is a blessing in itself!

because I do..

Well this weekend was a trying one. We had a great Friday night, having been invited to a bonfire and potluck, we had a glowing evening..haha. Then Saturday came and everything went to crap. Zach must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. He whined, yelled, complained all day. He hit me,threw things and called me names. Each time out or priviledge lost just seemed to make things worse. He called me a bad mom, a poopy head, and told me he wanted to kill me. His anger was totally out of control and seemed to come from no where. It scares me, what happens when he gets older??? Gene was gone all day working ad did not return until after 5pm, by that time I was worn and exhausted. He was his usual cheerful self. We had a few nice fights and ended the evening quietly..him passed out me at the computer, Zach finally also fell asleep. Sunday we made plans to go to a few yard sales and a small convention on how to make your house more energy efficient and green. We attended that and everyone did well. But by the time we got home, everything went to shit. Gene wanted to mow the lawn, and Zach wanted to help him. Gene did not want help and thus this set the scene for the rest of the afternoon. Gene mowed and Zach lingered around wherever Daddy was. By the time Gene got to the back lawn it seemed he was okay with Zach hanging out. I told him I ws going to see the neighbors for a few, and did so. When I came back into the house and returned to doing chores, Gene came roaring into the house and told me he is sick of this shit..this is bullshit and how he can't watch Zach he is busy...blah blah. He was yelling at me, of course I was on the phone for the first time all day, and it never fails that he always freaks when I am on the phone. I got off the phone proceeded to share my thoughts with Gene, which included a lot of shouting and swearing and I punched him on the arm, he hates this. He takes off ignores me and returns to mowing...meanwhile I now have to keep Zach in the house. Zach runs away from me and tries to hide in the shed. I get him bring him inside for a time out for running away, and he hits me calls me names. HMMMM ANYBODY SEE A PATTERN HERE???? God I am so frustrated. I finish making dinner. Zach and I eat, he throws a fit. I send him to his room for time out..he runs away again. Gene comes into eat. Gene tells me he needs a break and goes to a bar. I finally get Zach settled and almost asleep when Gene comes home. We than proceed to have one of the Biggest fights we have ever had, and now I think I am going to look for somewhere else to live. I am really sad and afraid, and I don't know what to do. We have been through counseling, but I am sick and tired of this. When I ask him if he wants me to leave he says no, I asked him what are we going to do he says, nothing we can do.
Financially I can do nothing. My meesley $600 bucks a month from watching Gwyn is hardly enough to support 2 of us. But I want to do something, something has got to give.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Menu for next week

Okay, a few people have made it clear to me that thy really liked the weekly menu, and are missing without any hesitation here it comes. Now I make my menu based on what is on sale at the store I am going to, and based on what I have in my house already, make your own changes and substitutions accordingly.

Baked chicken pieces(thighs and legs)
Butternut squash
Butter noodles

Baked chicken:
2-3 lbs of chicken skin on(use whatever parts you like)
fresh rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
minced garlic

Place chicken in baking pan, pour over olive oil to coat, sprinkle with salt an pepper, about 2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary, and about 2 cloves of minced garlic. Bake for about 45 minutes or until done. (breasts make cook quicker)

Peel and cut up squash into 2-3 inch pieces, boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes or so. Mash and add 1/2 cup brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

Butter Noodles:
one package egg noodles
parmesan cheese
garlic powder
salt and pepper
parsley (dried or fresh)

Boil noodles for 7-8 minutes or until done. Drain. Place 3 tablespoons butter into pan. It will melt but do not place on heated burner. Add to the butter, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablspoon parsley, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper each.
Add noodles and 2 tablspoons parmesan cheese, mix well with spoon.

Sausage and Bean stew
1 cup diced onion
1 lb diced smoked sausage
2 peeled and diced potatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 handful fresh spinach
Saute onion and sausage until onions are soft, add reamining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with favorite bread.

Turkey Wraps
steamed carrots

Turkey wraps:
8 inch tortillas
sun dried tomato pesto
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 jar roasted red peppers
16 slices oven roasted turkey or chicken breast sandwich meat
sliced, pitted olives (we like kalamata)
fresh mushrooms
Spread tortillas with pesto and then layer ingredients, roll up, and cut in half.
steam carrots and serve.

Pan fried chicken tenders
baked potatoes
steamed broccoli
Season chicken tenders with dry ranch seasoning, pan fry on stove until done.
Serve with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Roasted pepper pasta
12 oz spinach fettuccine
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
rest of fresh mushrooms from Tues.
rest of roasted red peppers from Tues.
1/2 cup prepared pesto
Cook pasta. Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil. Drain pasta, and toss with chopped roasted red peppers, pesto, onion and mushroom.

Reheat and layout leftovers, let everyone choose what they want.

Crockpot BBQ ribs
Baked beans

BBQ ribs:
2 lbs boneless country style pork loin ribs
1 onion sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
6 oz can pineapple juice
2/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup plum jam or marmalade

Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Place ribs, onion and garlic into crock. Cook on low for 6 hours. Take out ribs and drain juices. Mix up sauces and cover ribs, put back into crock and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Serve with canned baked beans and prepared coleslaw. Serve plenty of bread to sop up juices form ribs and coleslaw. YUMMMMMM

Enjoy, sorry it took me so lnog to get back on the menu track. Hearts..Evie

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Well its Tuesday already. I am still trying to recover from our camping weekend. I have no pics! No one wanted to have thier pics taken in thier Medevil garb...including me. We had a good time though. Gene thouroughly enjoyed his meat slaughter class. They killed and cut up three goats..then cooked them for our evening feast. He said he learned a few tips that he can use when butchering deer and other beasts. Zach got pretty bored during the day, but did like watching the fighting. We took some nature which included a javelin throw, Gene really liked this one. Just before Zach fell asleep he told me he really liked falling asleep to the sound of the drums. I have to admit that was one of my favorite parts too. Eating the evening feast was pretty cool too, the table was piled high with meat (goat and chicken), breads, cheeses, roasted veggies, and an amazing barley stew. Zach ate his fair share of bread and apple butter, but really only wanted cake. A red velvet cake shaped like a piggie.
I actually felt very pretty in my purple dress that I sewed, and Gene and Zach looked pretty cute in thier tunic and pants outfits. Zach kept telling us how stupid it was to dress in the "olden days" clothes. Gene's only complaint is that there was not enough cleavage in my he saw his fair share of barely covered breasts.. Not my style.
I am now playing catchup with laundry and sleep, and trying to wrap my brain around the flavors of that barley stew, wondering if I can re-create it. I need to wash my dress, and then I will post some pics of it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Jam is on!

Well I spent a good amount of time making some Peach Almond jam, it my favorite, and my recipe yielded 15 jars today. I am getting excited about having a booth at the fall festival, even though it a month away. I am hoping to make a bundle, even though some of my procedes will go back to the pre-school.
I was propositioned to make 15 cheesecakes for a friends company for the holiday season. That will pick up the slack where the babysitting falls way I guess.
In other news, I have been published!
here is the link:
My recipe for Jalapeno Relish is posted on page #7. I am so proud! Of course now my recipe has been shared with the whole world..and it no secret anymore, but who cares. :)

And that's the news in the Normandin house today

Monday, October 6, 2008

Farming is Zach's game

Well as many of you know farming is my son's passion. He has been obsessed with tractors and farms for quite awhile now. (at least three years of his young life)
We took the Kaw Valley Farm Tour yesterday. For those of you who don't know, the tour is a tour of local or semi-local farms that produce and sell local goods...well locally..hehe. Anyways there are lots of farms that participate in this annual two day event. We were able to spend most of Sunday visiting farms, we got to see 5 of them, which is about a 1/4 of the farms open for visitors. was a blast and Zach got to share some of his vast farming knowledge with others and do fun things like: jump in a whole tub of dried shucked corn, visit a butterfly pavillion, milk a goat(he's an old pro at this), pet numerous animals, chase kittens, pump water, shuck corn, run through a maze, paint pumpkins, pull the release on a pumkin cannon, climb a mountain of mulch, ride on two different hay rides;one horse driven, one tractor, climb a hay loft, and the list goes! We ended the day by attending a friends birthday party at a gymnastics studio, and we came home, made dinner and I sat on the couch and did not move for the rest of the evening.
Here are some pics:
And a bonus pirate:
Jars of raspberry jam I made to sell at the pre-school Fall Festival:
More jam to come yum yum!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ho hum humpday...

Well its already wednesday. I am so sad that Gene is working on Fridays again...NOT!
Although I was planning on having him do one more school workday for me...bummer. All good things must come to an end.
I am making some super delish spaghetti for supper. One jar of my red wine spag sauce, one jar of my diced tomatoes and one pound of local organic hamburger, all in the crockpot for a few hours. I am serving some homemade garlic bread and a salad YUM! The house smells so good.
I was lucky enough to have found an old costume that Zach can wear for garb yay! He is hellbent on dressing as a pirate for the camping event, which will be very acceptable..he looks so cute too. :)
I found some soft lavender flannel in my stash and have been working on my tunic. Its going to be so soft and comfy, and warm since the nights have been so cool lately. It might serve as a winter nightgown for me too.
I am trying out this local co-op this month and will be ordering many items in bulk. Things like: flour, sugar, rice, beans and granola. It will be more cost efficient and we will be able to afford these things organically if I purchase them this way.

Oh and I just wanted to mention what an awful rest of the day Monday turned out to be.I had to pay someone to watch my babysitting kiddo so I could work at the preschool(mandatory workday). Then the woman who I was participating with never showed up, so I had to do all activites by myself, like cleaning and preparing snack for 20 other persons. And to add it off one of the little people had a major poop blowout in one of the bathrooms..guess who cleaned it up?? Some people said they were coming back to the school to help me clean, but then one of the kids broke a teacher's car window and everyone forgot about me in all the excitement. SHITTY day, and when I got home Gene was all like what's for dinner?? SO I made dinner, then I had to go pick raspberries, and when I finished all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV and not move for a month. Then aformentioned husband said you need to watch your son so I can work on my van...WAHHHHH. Okay I think I got it all out, and if you are still reading this, thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Almost Oct!

Wow its hard to believe its almost Oct. SO much to do so little time. I have to sew my garb for the campout and my halloween costume. I am just starting my garb today and think I can pull it off without having to buy too much stuff. My costume is another thing altogether. Its going to be hard to make.
I just wanted to take a quick minute to report how much better Zach's behavior has been lately. And I have not spanked him since I reported I did. I am trying really hard to be patient with him, and to talk softly to him when he does need some correction. It seems to be paying off.
We had a pretty stellar weekend. I made like 50 muffins for the Lawrence Community Environmental School yard/bake sale. Since they charged a buck a piece for them I feel like I contributed nicely, not to mention the other items I donated.
Friday was a great day. Zach had preschool, we took our family pictures there and his school pictures. Gene and I had some quality time since Zach was at school and I did not have to babysit any kids. Then the preschool had babysitting in the evening and we were able to go out for drinks with friends.
On Sat after I attended the yard/bake sale we had some quiet time at home. Gene got some side work, and then my step-dad spent the night since he was attending the Nascar race. I have to report he was very well behaved this weekend.
I spent most of Sunday catching up on housework, while Gene and Zach went to watch the model airplane show and later some father and son fishing. Although they did not catch anything they had fun anyways.
Since my stepdad was staying here he was able to bring us a recliner they were gving us.
We really needed some more furniture anyways, having only a couch was not always comfortable. We were happy to welcome this piece of furniture into our home, its not only comfy, but Zach loves to rock in it with me.
I have some cutting and sewing to start on, and if I am lucky I might get a shower in before my babysitting kiddo gets here. Here's hoping...toodles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yummy muffin Tuesday

Yummmm, what could be a better way than starting this day with a yummy healthy muffin.
Here's my recipe for them:

Banana Chocolate chip muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup chocolate chips
optional: 1/2 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix all ingredients stirring until just mixed, over mixing will cause tough muffins.
Fill well greased muffin cups(I used bakers joy spray), about 1/2 way to 3/4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Try not to eat too many warm with butter.

I was invited to be the food coordinator at a big camping event in a few weeks. I have to think about it, but I am quite sure we do want to go for the camping, and Gene wants to go for the meat cutting demonstration. I will have to make us some clothes though because we will be required to wear period Medival wear, easy enough I just have to get started right away. So I might actually have some sewing to post about hooray!

I found a picture of the horrid caterpillar on my camera, it has now changed and we are awaiting for it to turn into the moth it is to become.
Its not the best but gives you an idea.

Monday, September 22, 2008

wow long week and long weekend!

Well we have been busy around here. I had a lot of babysitting last week, and this weekend we attended a party, a birthday party and had a visit from my parents. I cleaned my booty off and now I want a little rest. I am feeling really good about myself financially and it really helps decrease Gene's stress as well.
Having my mom finally visit was a relief because she has a tendency to make judgements about stuff she knows nothing about, like our house. She now realizes it not a shack, or falling down... cause those are the kind of judgements she made..cause that is just her.
I have endured her subtle comments about our furniture, my marriage and Zach's behavior, and she was not even here for 24 hours! Ahh mom, love her, hate her, she is my mom. It makes me wonder..will Zach resent me too someday? Why is is the older I get the more I find myself acting like her/turing into her. Not that I don't respect her, she has had a pretty tough life, and been dealt a heavy hand.
I did get some sewing done, mom brought me her pants to hem
In exchange she brought us a ham, a pork roast, and a ham steak, from a family friend, and they are all organic! She promises to get me some of the organic beef they will be getting soon.
Now if I only had a freezer!

In the holiday spirit the babysitting kids and I colored fall leaf pictures.
Happy first day of Fall!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Imitation is better than real life

So yesterday thanks to the better and no raining weather Gene finally got a chance to mow the well watered lawn. Zach did the same, complete with swearing at his mower!
He yelled at his mower "why doesn't this damn thing work right?"
So cute..and funny! He even came in for his break and asked for a beer..haha.
I don't think so buddy.
We found an awesome caterpillar, a Pandora Sphinx Moth caterpillar. No pic cause it did not photograph well. But here is a link:
The thing is friggin huge! As big as my ringfinger.
Well it got out of the aquarium and was loose in the house for about 24 hours. This thing creeps me out for 2 reasons:
a. its huge and ugly
b. it spits out this green foamy stuff when you touch it..ewww.
I put out some grape leaves; it primary food source and this morning Gene found it wondering around..he got foamed...yuck. He was pissed at me, but he will get over
Its now safe in the aquarium with a weighted top. While we were looking for this thing yesterday we found to chrysili? Chrysilisses?? Anyways from a few other escapees, and we retuned them to the safety of the aquarium. Although the big one still freaks me out its nice to have something different from all of our black swallowtail ones. Even if it was trying to eat my grape leaves. I got a few leaves from the preschool cause they have a more mature grapevine, and mine is just a baby plant. We are headed out to our grapevines this morning to check for more of these giant squirmies.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Friday again. I worked on re-hashing a pair of pants and my halloween costume today. I guess my Fridays are freed up now since I am no longer watching the little boy two days a week. Oh well easy come easy go. I hate that Gene does not work on Fridays now. Well for the next month or so anyways.

I have been very patient with Zach, and everytime I think things are going well he does something like insult me, by using a bad word, only because he did not get his way. After a mouth washing and a time out he still refused to apologize to me. He is so strong willed. Something I am sure that will serve him well in his adult life, but it makes me crazy. I have not spanked, but Gene is not totally on board with the either, although he has not spanked him he has threatened too.

The weather here seems more like Florida these past few days. Hot, humid and sticky. I thought it was going to cool down tonight. So I made stew for dinner. Although it was good, it just was not the right weather for it. Speaking of weather we had a tornado warning here this afternoon. We thought the tornado season was! I am really wishing we could turn on some AC but Gene says no..WAHHHH
Here is the stew recipe I made today and cooked in the crockpot:

Lamb and veggie stew
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lamb stew meat, cubed
3 cups beef broth
1 T white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup peeled, sliced carrots
2 cups peeled, chopped sweet potatoes
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup chopped yellow squash
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
all-purpose flour for coating meat

Salt and pepper meat. Coat with flour and brown in oil. Place in crockpot with chopped veggies. Add all remaining ingredients, cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for 4-6 hours or until meat is done. Remove bay leaf before serving.
I feel good about this meal, because everything I used was local, which is part of the reason it was probably so good. Just not good for warm weather..chow

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ravioli as promised

Well we ended making the rest of the ravioli last night as we ran out of dough.
The pumpkin ravioli turned out great and sooo delish! Here are some pics:
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Our first pumpkin that we grew is what we made the raviolis with.
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Cut it up and steamed with the veggie steamer basket for about 40 minutes, so the skin could be removed.
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After it was cooled and peeled I blended it with a small container of ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
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Instead of making my dough I cheated and used these potsticker wraps, you can use wonton wrappers or flour eggroll wrappers too.
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I moisten the wrapper edges with water and place about a tablespoon of filling in each wrapper, then I top with another wrapper and seal all around so filling does not come out.
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Boil in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Then place in sage butter. I made the sage butter by putting a stick of butter in a pan and warming it with about a tablespoon of dried sage, and warming until bitter was melted and I could smell the sage.
Remove them from the butter and plate them, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve!
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They should be served with a green, we ate brussell sprouts with ours. OH what a treat, these were better than any food we have eaten in a long time!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

little cooking, no sewing and lotsa bitchy

Yup, wow with all the sitting I have been doing there is scarcely time to blog!
I had a housefull on Friday. I made some coinage, but I am exhausted. It feels nice though, being able to contribute again. I think it helps Gene feel better too. Now I just have to figure out how to save some of it. Gene needs a new van, and I would like a mini-van, to haul kiddos around in.
We had company on Friday night and also entertained yesterday. Last nite we just vegged out. And the same today. Except today I have to tidy the house before the week begins. :)
I am going to try to make some pumpkin raviolis on Monday, and that ought to be fun, I will def take some pictures of that.
Zach has been a handful lately but that is not unusual for him. I have been trying to just remind myself to be firm but calm..very hard for me the LEO lady. I got good results and shorter fits today when I remembered to do this. Once in Walgreens and another time at Kwik shop(gas station). He threw a fit in Walgreens because I would not buy him anything. And then in Kwik Shop, he helped himself to a donut, which I had to buy because he touched it..the little shit. We talked about stealing and how bad that is. He kept telling, me but you paid for it! He is so smart, it just blows me away sometimes. I really hate taking him to the store, and will try to avoid it at all costs this week. I should change this blog name to! Hope this day finds you in a happy state of mind. Evie

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The work is calling.

Well it has been quite a ride the past couple of weeks. I started a job, I quit a job. I am no longer babysitting, for the young girl who runs a home daycare. Instead I am watching the little girl (that I have been wanting to watch), fulltime. I also start watching another little boy on Thurs/Friday. It's nice how these things just sorta fell my way..of course I have been asking the universe to send me some way for me to make money and to stay home too. Its perfect and I think it will be fun and a great thing for me and my family. I am excited about these little people and I love children...its a wonder I don't go into teaching. Maybe someday??
Dinner plans are shaping up very nicely and I plan on making this tonight:
Greek Style chicken
1 cup yogurt, plain plain low-fat
1 tablespoon lemon zest finely grated peel of a lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons oregano finely chopped, fresh
2 tablespoons parsley leaves chopped finely, fresh
1 clove garlic peeled and forced through a press
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground or to taste
2lbs chicken pieces or breasts

1. Combine the yogurt, lemon peel and juice, oregano, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

2. Put the chicken into a dish and spread about 1/4 cup of the yogurt sauce over the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours, or longer if possible. Cover and refrigerate the remaining yogurt sauce.

3. Place the chicken on a rack in a baking pan and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven 30 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until the chicken is browned on top and cooked through.

4. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the chicken and serve.

I am serving this with pita wedges and a greek style salad with feta and olives.

I had a nice time with Gene and Zach picking raspberries with my neighbors last night. Now what to do with them? I am thinking about making some cordial, or jam. My neighbors are going to be giving us some raspberry shoots in the fall, since our raspberries died this summer. I hope to have nice big thicket like they do in a couple of years. They are so yummy, and its nice to have some free fruit! I am scheduled to pick them again on thursday since they are tired of picking them. So we will have lots of them.
The weather is fall like today, I am happy to have it too. I am missing the New England fall already, luckily there are lots of trees here so we will get a hint of it. For now the windows and doors are open for the first time in awhile and I love the cool damp breeze.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh how the days get away..

I am sitting here crying, wondering why I am feeling this way. I let myself be selfishly excited just a teeny bit. An accident I know, but my son(whom I gave away 13 years ago) and I were invited to the same birthday party. Of which it was since decided it was not a good time for us to meet. I am not angry, it was not meant to be. Not yet anyways. But I am feeling it now. It's like a ball in my chest. It's stupid to cry about such things, but I am a sensitive gal. Maybe I can't handle it. Not that I would say a thing to him, I don't want to cause any hurt. I don't even think he knows who I am. I am done, and so I will let this moment go.

We have had a decent weekend so far, one of our caterpillars turned into a butterfly.
It's a Black Swallowtail.
We had a nice visit from our friends Maria and Nate and thier kiddos. I made spaghetti with my homemade sauce and some hamburger. It turned out really good, and there were empty plates around the table.
I bought Zach some very nice Organic cotton pants for fall, for the bargin price of $5.00 at the Blue Dandelion a pricy kids Boutique in downtown Lawrence. He is dying to wear them but I want him to wait, so they don't get destroyed too soon.

Something else I need to talk about, spanking. Yes I know I vowed not to do it, but it happened again. Zach was acting out so badly yesterday. He spat at me, argued, called me a bad parent. He left time out repeatedly, and I felt like I did not know what else to do. I spanked him and then he talked back again! So he had a very long time out in his room. Then like magic he cleaned his room, all by himself without being asked, and he he did a nice job too. He then vaccuumed it. We talked about how I do not think it okay to spank him, but I feel like that was my last resort. He told me it hurts his feelings, and I told him its the same when spits at me and calls me a bad parent when he does not get his way. I don't want to do it again.
we are having a potluck tonight and I have some dishes to make, so I need to get on with my day. I made a yummy peach and blueberry pie , and I need to start on the potato salad.
Just in case you are hungry, here's the pie:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whew, the weekend cometh

Well I can't beleive its Thursday already. I have been keeping myself busy in the garden as this is peak season. We have had a few tomatoes to pick, and by a few I mean a few
I already made 8 jars of spaghetti sauce, and I have made a few rounds of salsa too. So when I borrowed my neighbors tomato deseeder, I was not sure what to do..but thats why the internet comes in handy.
I am making homemade ketchup! It smells pretty good too. It's on it's second day in the crockpot, and I should be able to can it later tonight. Here is what it looks like as of about 15 minutes ago.
And Zach's new curtain fabric whic I have been promising, they are almost done too!
In other news, one of our neighbors, whom we thought was totally cool with us, has deceided that it is his personal goal to make sure we do not have chickens on our property. This came out of nowhere and we are shocked, and hurt too. We are checking with the powers that be to make sure it is legal..which everyone keeps assuring us that it is...anyways, I will def keep you all posted about this! Toodles, Evie.