All of my good intentions with bread and yogurt went out the window yesterday. I’m in the middle of dealing with a logistical nightmare with the closets around here. The last couple of days I have been sorting through the girls clothes, trying to pare down to what we actually use. Hang on, I’m getting sidetracked, more about the closets later. I needed a few baskets to corral things in, so I ran to the thrift store. I found what I was looking for and swung by the blanket table. A little background first. Two years ago I knitted blankets for Hubby and the three bigger kids. They were a lot of work, a tad expensive, but totally worth it. For some reason, I just couldn’t justify spending the time or money on a blanket for myself. Since then, I’ve just been borrowing everybody else’s blankets. Part of the love of thrifting for me is waiting to find the perfect thing. The success of finding something is sweeter the longer you’ve been waiting for it. Since I made the blankets, I’ve kept my eye out for a blanket for me. I’ve come across dozens of crocheted blankets, but most of them were really scratchy acrylic or the colours were just atrocious. Today was my day. I went over to the blanket table and there she was. A gorgeous granny square blanket. It was big, 68″ x 51″. It was soft, and it was granny squares. (I have a really hard time photographing red, it never turns out right this is a beautiful scarlet colour). What could be better? Wait, maybe the price. Go on, take a guess. Yup, that’s right, $3. A whole $3. I couldn’t believe it, I almost squealed with delight in the middle of the store. I was so excited. There is something about waiting and searching and then finally finding what you’ve been after. We got home, had some extra snuggles with the girls and I made the most delicious beef and ale stew (more on that later too) for supper. The girls are doing a bit better, but my scratchy throat has now turned to a drippy nose ickiness. I had so many plans for this week around the house, but I’m not sure how much I’ll get done now. Now I think I might just need to get something warm to drink and curl up with my new blanket.
Archive for the ‘food’ Category
Yesterday, we did a big grocery shop. One of the things I like to do if I have time is do a lot of prep work ahead of time. It saves time and some of my sanity when I can pull out ingredients all ready to go. It’s usually between 4:00 and 5:00pm when I am trying to make supper that things start to fall apart. Kids are getting hungry, and cranky. The babe wants some extra snuggles, and I’m trying to make supper. So anything that is done ahead of time is a huge help. Yesterday afternoon when we got home, I tackled the chicken. I sliced and sauteed up about 8 pounds of chicken breasts. Now it is all in the freezer waiting to be put into stir fries, curries, fajitas, and anything else I can think of. I can just pull a pre-portioned bag of chicken, thaw it and toss it in. My other job for yesterday was granola. I recently found this recipe over at katie did. It is perfect for us. Not too sweet at all, which is huge for me since the kids like to gobble it up. I’m not a huge seed person, and right now I can’t really eat them because they get caught in my braces, so this was extra perfect. This recipe makes a huge batch. Huge as in approx. 20 cups, which again is perfect for my family. You could always half the recipe if you didn’t want quite as much at once. I used quick oats instead of the regular ones (just smaller pieces of oats) and unsweetened desiccated coconut, so that it would not be too sweet. I think because the pieces of oatmeal were smaller, my batch took 45 minutes to bake instead of the two hours. If you make this granola, just keep an eye on it to make sure you don’t overcook it. Granola has been one of those things that I have been trying to find a great recipe for, for ages, and now I have one. It’s a huge hit with my kids and me and Hubby. If you’ve been searching for a great granola recipe, do give this one a try. If all goes well today, I’m hoping to get some bread and yogurt made. What are some of your favourite things to make?
We use washcloths and dishrags instead of paper towels. We use them all the time, and have quite a few. We need them for the dishes, spills, washing up the babe after every meal. For months now, they have been a big pain. They have been juggled from one place to the other not really having a proper home. When we were visiting Hubby’s grandparents in December, his grandmother had a massive box of magazines ready for recycling. She let me go through them and keep whatever I wanted. I saw this idea in a Good Housekeeping, though they intended it for keeping lingerie in the closet. I had completely forgotten about this until I ran by the torn out picture the other day. This, I thought, would be perfect to house all of our towels. It needed to be somewhere in reach of the kids (so that they can grab a washcloth), but still not a huge eyesore. In a perfect world, all of the towels would be neatly stacked somewhere, but let’s face it, that isn’t ideal. I spend all the time to fold them up, and then they just end up in a messy pile anyhow. So now, as soon as they are clean, they go into their new bag and just stay there until needed. No folding necessary. All you do is find a pretty vintage pillowcase and a wooden embroidery hoop. I already had these in my stash, two vintage pillowcases at 25 cents each, and two wooden embroidery hoops at 25 cents each from my thrift store. I used a 10″ and 12″ hoop. Now, technically this is no sew, unless of course you’re me. Then, because you haven’t loosened the hoop quite enough, when you try and scootch the fabric around, you simultaneously tear two rips into your pillowcase. Then you spend the next 20 minutes hand mending the tears. Normally though, this involves no sewing at all. If I really wanted to take a lot of time, I could have trimmed the top of the bag to make it even instead of just letting it fold down into the bag, but I kind of like this way better. Then if I ever decide to swap the pillowcase out for another colour or pattern, I haven’t ruined these. Anyway, you need to put the inner hoop down inside the pillowcase and fold the top down into it. In order for it to lay straight, you need to put more of the front side of the pillowcase down in , than the back. I hope that’s not too confusing. Really, just play around with it and get it to lie like you want it to. Then cut an approx. 6″ length of ribbon (I used twill tape) and fold it in half. You are going to lay the raw edges down on top of the fabric that is folded over the inner ring. Make sure that the raw edges are pointing away from you and that the fold is hanging towards you. Carefully put the outer hoop on top, catching the hanging ribbon, and tighten. If you are using vintage fabric, especially, be careful not to pull the fabric around too much, otherwise you might indeed end up sewing. On a completely side note, the other day I really felt like some kind of hot chocolate with a twist. I opened the cupboard that holds all of our tea, coffee, etc. and saw a tub of Nutella staring at me. I wonder… Yes indeed it was delicious. I heated up some milk on the stove, stirred a spoonful of Nutella in, and yum. Yum, Yum, Yum. The girls both have colds, and I think I’m coming down with one too. I’ve got a nice scratchy throat. I’m hoping it doesn’t last too long.
Last month I signed up for the One Small Change challenge. I had been getting a little lax about using cloth bags every time we went shopping, so that was my change for January. It went really well. I used my cloth bags when we went to the store, and came up with some new produce bags. I only ended up using a plastic bag once. Hubby and I were on a date and borrowing a car (ours wasn’t driveable). I hadn’t planned on stopping at the store, so didn’t have any bags on me. Other than that, it was a plastic bag free month. This month our goal is to not have any food waste, none at all. There isn’t usually much anyway, but occasionally there is a mouldy grape or two, or a slimy scallion. It is sometimes hard to get local food where we live, so I want to make sure that any resources that are used up by having food travel aren’t being tossed straight in the bin. So, this is our February challenge, not a single bit of food waste. I anticipate it going well, I just need to be really good at keeping on top of what’s in the fridge. Onto the winner, thanks so much for all joining in the giveaway. It was really nice to meet some new gals. The winner of the cloth bags is Wendy, congrats! I just need to get your address and then they’ll be on their way. Hope everyone had a good weekend! I’ve got a few more projects up my sleeve for this week, so if all goes well, I’ll be sharing some new things with you soon.
I love chai tea. I love it’s sweet spiciness. Usually I just buy decaf chai tea bags, but I don’t measure very carefully with the honey, so it’s usually trial and error as to weather I get it exactly how I like it or not. The other day when I was over at Angry Chicken, I saw that she made a chai concentrate. I knew I had to try it. She used this recipe. I realize that it doesn’t technically have all the same spices as real chai tea, but it’s a pretty good substitute. It was really easy, all you do is mix some spices into some sweetened condensed milk. At first I tried to leave out the extra spoon of sugar, but I did find that it needed it, so went ahead and added it back in. Also, there was just a touch too much cardamom in my opinion, so next time I will probably only put 3/4 teaspoon in. Now all I have to do is brew some black tea, and spoon in a couple of spoonfulls of the chai concentrate and voila, chai tea. When you need a good cup of something hot, what do you reach for?
I don’t think I can actually call this a recipe, it’s more just throwing things together in a bowl and stirring. Either way, it’s delicious, and nutritious. Here is what you need. equal amounts of black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes diced jalapeno garlic lemon or lime fresh parsley sea salt If I’m being really good and planning ahead, I will cook the black beans from scratch. If it’s summer time, I’ll dice up fresh tomatoes. This time, I was out of garlic, didn’t have any jalapenos and trust me, the “fresh” tomatoes are not so tasty in Wyoming in January. This is one reason why I love this salsa, it’s so forgiving and very flexible. I used two cans each of beans, corn, and diced tomatoes that had diced mild chiles already in them. I used garlic powder (because raw garlic is a bit too much for me). Normally I squeeze lemon juice over it, but this time I had limes, and it was just as tasty. Normally I hate when somebody tells me their recipe and includes no measurements. I’m really sorry, because it’s what I’m doing now. I don’t ever measure any of this, I just taste it a lot as I mix it together. I make a huge batch because the kids love it and it goes quickly. So if you don’t have four kids that devour food like locusts, you might not want to make quite such a big batch. I figure if I’m gonna make it, I may as well make enough to last a few days. Just dump the beans, corn, tomatoes, and diced jalapeno together in a bowl. If you are using canned beans etc. remember to drain them and rinse the beans also, otherwise the salsa gets really goopy. Chop up a handful of fresh parsley and throw it in. Squeeze approx. one lime worth of juice in and start mixing. Season with garlic and salt and enjoy! It makes a great snack, or a quick lunch in a pinch.
The last two days have been gorgeous, weather wise. It’s been in the fifties and sunny, with just a tiny breeze. I’ve thrown open the windows and we’ve all had a little extra fresh air. The kids have spent hours outside playing. I only wish this weather would hold, but here in Wyoming we have several more months of freezing cold weather. We often have one last snowstorm in April, so I can’t get my hopes up yet. Yesterday my daughter wanted to make supper and dessert. She’s five years old and a huge help. Except for the sharp knives and using the oven she pretty much made it all on her own. We had twice baked potatoes with ham and peas. For dessert, she made this gorgeous caramel peach grunt (which the kids have re-named grumble). The recipe came from Rustic Fruit Desserts which is chock full of yummy looking desserts. We will definitely be trying some more. On the 20 minutes a day of crafting front, I have been busy and will have some things to show you soon. I’ve been really enjoying this, it has forced me to get a few little projects done that have been in my head for a while. Do any of you have any projects that have been niggling away in your brain? Something small (or big) that if you just sat down and did it, would make your life a little easier?
There are some days where it seems that all I do is make sure the kids are fed, and some learning is accomplished. Where I spend my time breaking up fights and calming frustrated little ones, while balancing a fussy toddler on my hip and trying to get some laundry done. Yesterday was the complete opposite. I was able to bake three loaves of bread, make two quarts of yogurt, wash diapers and gets lots of schooling done. I felt very domestic indeed. We read about St. Alban and Hadrian’s Wall (I just love being able to tell the kids that I have been to some of these places, they get so excited). The children went outside to play, and despite being bundled up like eskimos, they came back in rosy cheeked after only twenty minutes. We had lots of snuggles and were even able get some extra reading done before supper. We are reading The Wishing Chair Collection by Enid Blyton. I loved these books as a child and now my kids do too. They are magical tales that are calmer than a lot of fairy tales, which is really good for my kiddos that have less of a tolerance for scary. Overall it was about as close to domestic bliss as we get around here. Definitely a very good day, especially when all the children were snug in their beds by seven o’clock. Check out this beauty of a rolling pin. It was another gift from Christmas, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It was handmade in Breckenridge, Co. and I’m so glad it found it’s new home with me. Now I really need to bake a pie and try it out. What is your favourite domestic chore? Is it baking, folding laundry, or doing a big spring clean?
This was one of my Christmas gifts, isn’t it great? It’s huge, and I mean huge. The diameter is 12 inches and it’s about 6 1/2 inches deep. I have been using it constantly since I got it. It is perfect for mixing up a cake and because it’s so big, even the most exuberant of mixing by the kiddos doesn’t splash outside of it. Yesterday I used it to serve up mashed potatoes and they were dwarfed by the size of the bowl. I love it, it has become my new best friend. It has so much more character than a plain glass bowl, don’t you think? What are your favourite kitchen items?
A new year, so full of possibilities. I must admit, after all the gearing up for Christmas, it is sometimes a bit of a relief when it is finished. I immediately think of the spring coming (though that won’t be for many months here), and new life and warmth. I look forward to celebrating a new year of birthdays starting with all of my boys in the spring. Thoughts of what to plant, where to plant it, and how much to plant. Dreaming of picnics every week in the warm summer sun, having it be warm enough to let my kids play for hours outside every day. We have serious cabin fever by this time of year. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just cold, but the wind makes it unbearable. I’m not such a huge fan of resolutions, but a new year does make me reflective over how I would like to do things this year. Much of this past year was spent physically, mentally, and emotionally recovering from the previous two years. This year I feel a renewed vigor and enthusiasm, and I am excited for the possibilities. This necklace was a gift from Hubby. It was made by Lisa Leonard and is called Be Still. I absolutely love it, and it is a constant reminder to be still. Being still is sometimes a little difficult with four children. This year, I want to live in the moment more. Enjoy each and every hug, story, cuddle that I am blessed enough to have. I want to enjoy cooking more, so often it’s a matter of just trying to get a nutritious meal on the table while stopping a squabble, holding a fussy babe and trying to think straight and stir at the same time. I want to be outside more, and truly enjoy the beauty of the world around us. To visit family more as time goes by so quickly, and the children are growing at the speed of light. I want to lie in the grass and read stories to my children, make them picnics to have on adventures in the back yard. Then there are the more domestic things that I want to accomplish, such as being more organized, getting some sort of chore system worked out with the abilities of everyone in the family. Being really good about making a big shopping trip and then only going out when we need milk and fresh veg/fruit. I could go on forever as there are probably hundreds of things I want to do, but my overarching goal is to be still, enjoy what God has given me, and make thousands of new, fantastic memories with my family. I sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful new year and are able to accomplish all that you want. Happy New Year!