Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cleaning Produce

When I return from the grocery I like to clean all of my produce.

I use a vinegar solution of one part vinegar to ten parts water.  I let it soak for about half an hour.  I would love to purchase more organic produce, but that is hard on the budget. 

The first few times you do this you might be surprised by the cloudy water and stuff floating in it.  Especially grapes.  Using this solution helps to prolong the life and prevent molding of grapes and berries. 

Another perk to cleaning all of your produce at once is that you can go ahead and prep it.  Grapes don't last long around here so I pull them off of the vine. The littles snack on them often.

I find that if I go ahead and clean and slice carrots I am more likely to snack on them.   There is not always time during the day to stop and peel and slice a carrot.  Having everything clean and ready for use helps us to eat more fruits and veggies. 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In the Kitchen

Saturday there was nothing on the calendar and we stayed home all day.   The morning was lazy and the afternoon was the perfect time to putter in the kitchen.

Some milk was about to go bad.  Certainly unusual around here as we are usually on the verge of running out of milk.  I decided to make sausage and chipped beef gravy for the freezer. 

Did you know that making cookies is a dangerous job? 

Megan must think so!  Dangerous or not the cookie jar is now full. 

I tried my hand at making barbecue sauce. 

Anyone who experiments in kitchens knows that sometimes you find a winner and sometimes you don't.  In this case the BBQ sauce was not a winner.  Not that it was bad, but not to our liking.   

I am looking forward to another afternoon where I can putter in the kitchen.  a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pinned It, Made It: Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloin

Saturday I made this chicken.

1 lb chicken tenders
1/2 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1 tsp lime juice
1 T honey
Marinade for at least four hours.  Super easy!
Her dish looked better then mine.  She cooked it on the stove in a skillet along with the remaining marinade rather then drained and on a grill the way I did.  Either way it is prepared it is a great dish!

So good in fact that Megan asked for thirds!  She eats little meat so when she request more then you know that it is good.  This will certainly be a regular on the menu.

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

linked to:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Joy in the Ordinary

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.

Making turkey stock.  Hmmmm... it made my home smell good!

The doctor is in. 

Nice to have it wiped out. 

Sunshine on day that the temps don't make it above freezing.

Lots of snuggles with a little man not feeling his best.

A treat from my parents.

Coloring body tracings. 

Megan has been learning about bones and made hers a skeleton.

Fresh fruit, clean and ready for the frig. 
May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By Request.... My Chili Recipe

Let me start by saying that I know some of you are going to say ... "that's not chili!"  ... and I am okay with that.  My own mother has even said it!  We like simple fare around here. 

I start by browning ground beef, about a half pound.  I know for many that isn't enough meat, but like Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life  says "meat is the condiment these days."  At today's prices I tend to agree.  Anyway, I add salt, pepper and chili powder to the beef as I am browning it.

After I drain the beef I add a quart of my home canned tomato juice.  Then add a quart of water.  I usually add more chili powder at this time. 

I heat this over medium high heat until it cooks down to about half of what it originally was. (At this point I would also add a can of beans if it were just for me. Chuck doesn't like beans so they stay out. )

I hope you can see by the picture the difference in color.  Cooking this down thickens it just a little and helps the flavors to blend.  I then turn this down to a simmer, add another quart of water and more chili powder.   I am generally to this point about lunch time.  For the rest of the afternoon I let it simmer and add additional water if needed.  The longer this simmers the better the flavor. 

An hour before dinner I will bring this back to a boil and add 2 cups of elbow macaroni.  It is very important that you stir often to keep the noodles from sticking!  Once tender I sometimes need to add a little more water and chili powder (I never measure this.  I season to taste.)  It really depends on how much liquid you like in your chili.  I then keep it warm until serving.

I like to serve this with warm cornbread.


May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bits and Pieces

I have spent more time then normal away from home... dentist, eye doctor appointment, school activities and then the normal stuff.  Before I knew it a week had gone by. 

I didn't have the boys on Friday and Chuck took the day off.  We snuck off for breakfast after Megan was off to school.  It was nice to be able to talk.  We called it our project meeting. 

So many projects that we ended up starting a second page!  Things we want to do and things we need to do.  We have lived in our current home for almost 12 years and there are some things that we must attend to this year.  Window boxes that Chuck built and installed when we first moved in need some maintenance and things like that.  Thankfully as the list grew longer Chuck didn't get up and head for the hills!

He actually dove right in and started on a shelving unit for the laundry area. 

Megan and I spent a little time talking about the garden.

I can hardly wait to get started.  I think this planning session may have added another project or two to the list.  lol I am going to try and add an area for some blueberry and blackberry bushes.  I heard on the news today that beef prices are projected to rise 10% this summer.  That means that I need to grow as much as possible to be able to buy meat!

Remember when I posted about my addiction to making pom poms?  I made a decorative stole for Megan.

After I made it I saw one in an ad in a parenting magazine.  When I saw that I decided to look them up.   I was shocked at the $28.00 price tag!  Super easy to make and I paid $2.77 for the yarn and used it for a couple a different projects. 

She was so excited when it showed it to her.   She said she is going wear it to church on Sunday. 

We have been up and moving around here.

Dropping a few pounds and getting healthy is the name of the game!  We walk the mall, but I am not sure it that is going to work for us.  We left the dinner table and went to walk and all we heard from Megan as we walked past the food stands was how hungry she was.  I think we might go broke if we walk there! 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Joy in the Ordinary

Look around, really look around and you will find joy... joy in the everyday... joy in the ordinary things.
Chili for a chilly day.
Finally warm enough for a thaw. :)

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Paint Fun in a Bag

I am always on the look out for activities to do with the kids. One of the issues I have when Megan is home is finding an activity that is appropriate for a two year old and also fun for a six year old.
I used some finger paint that I had on hand and put it into a freezer bag.  Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as you can when you close it. 
Tape it the table over a piece of white paper.  If you skip this step then then the designs won't show up as well.

Megan enjoyed it so much that she keep coming back to it through out the day.  An activity that we will certainly be doing again.  The one thing I will do different next time is add a little more paint to the bag. 

May your day be filled with joy and contentment!