Monday, November 16, 2009

the granola bars that turned into muffins LOL

ok, so i'm sure by now we all know how i feel about baking. you must have picked up that it's my absolute favourite thing to do. haha yeah, i really don't like it. i wouldn't say i hate it, per se, but yeah, i can think of about a dozen things i'd rather be doing.

but alas, i am broke. and alas, despite my broke-ness, the kiddies need snacks for school and such (ok, i need snacks, too). so my solution? baking. sigh

i was going to make granola bars. then realized i don't have any brown sugar in the house. so, i turned to my fave website, always handy to have bookmarked at a time of crisis such as this: i looked up "banana muffins" (because i do have bananas - trust me, i checked... twice... and i only bought them today! LOL), and found a yummy recipe. so i'll share it here (and yes, annie, the measurements are precise... ok, most of them are. LOL)

2 eggs, beaten
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups, all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F. lightly grease or line 10 muffin cups.
2. in a medium bowl, mix eggs and bananas. in a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. stir banana mixture into flour mixture. fold in walnuts if desired. pour batter into prepared muffin cups.
3. bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffins comes out clean.

ok, so i customized a bit. i read a couple reviews, which mentioned adding applesauce (they said 4 oz., but shockingly, i didn't have that much, so i just used... some. don't know the exact amount.) they also recommended cinnamon (again, i just poured a bit in), and 1 tsp vanilla (i actually measured this one!). i wanted the kids to be able to take these to school, so nuts were out of the question, but i had some craisins in the cupboard, so i added some of those.

the muffins are baking right now, and they look wonderful. oh, and they smell great, too. ooh, between the muffins and the bread i made earlier, my house smells divine!! you know you're jealous. ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

another recipe tonight. i'd say i'm on a roll here, but there's a catch to this one. and if you know me and how i cook, you already know what that catch is. i don't measure. but! i do know some amounts here for this one, so i thought i'd share. but be warned. this recipe is for a MONSTER batch of soup. and when i say "monster," i mean i made 3 big mason jars, and still had plenty left for supper tonight. but seriously, it was abso-freaking-lutely delicious!! :) so here you go, recipe lovers, an actual recipe for my favourite soup:

8 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 really big yam (you see the precise measurements here LOL)
1 giant white potato (find the biggest one you can, then keep looking for a bigger one)
3 small onions (or one really big one... but all i had was small ones, so i used 3)
3 - 4 cloves garlic, pressed
some nutmeg
some cinnamon (oh, i can hear some of you crying right now over these "measurements")
salt and pepper, but not too much
enough water to cover the ingredients, then a bit more. i used about 3 1/2 quarts, i think

bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. continue cooking, covered, until veggies are soft.

blend till smooth.

even bram, who only likes pea soup, loves this recipe. and blithe, who now claims to be a picky eater, wanted more. and asher ate some (which is high praise from him). this recipe is beyond easy, and beyond yummy. we love it. so, if you can stand my oh-so-precise measurements, give it a whirl, and feel free to leave a comment. :)

French Wheat Bread (for the breadmaker)

if you're looking for a FANTASTIC bread recipe, without anything fancy, just plain ol' bread... look no further, gentle reader! here it is, my favourite bread EVER!! honestly, i make this bread several times a week (and those who've tried it agree... it's delicious!). so, by special request, here is the recipe:

1 1/8 c water
2 1/2 c bread flour
1/2 c whole wheat (or multigrain) flour
2 1/2 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
3 tsp yeast

throw it all into the breadmaker in that order, and turn on the breadmaker. walk away.

when it's done, take it out.

while still warm, slice a piece for yourself and SMOTHER it in butter, jam, honey... whatever your little heart desires, but seriously, you absolutely must try this bread when it's warm. and then, try it once it has cooled. truly delicious!! LURV IT!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

holy jungle fever, batman! those herbs are HUGE!!!!!

my FB status tonight reads: that very night in heather's kitchen, a forest grew... and grew... and grew until her table hung with vines and the kitchen became the jungle all around... (translation: heather brought her herbs in tonight, and didn't realize quite how big they were till they were sitting on her kitchen table. LOL)

well, it's late october in ontario, which means it's gonna be getting cold soon. :( which means, also, that my wonderful herbs needed to come indoors for the winter. because really, is there anything better than fresh herbs? i don't think so.
anyway, it was gorgeous out today, hitting 15 degrees this afternoon (or about 60 degrees F, for my non-celsius readers). so i thought today would be a good day to do some outdoor work. and wow! it was glorious! feeling the earth between my fingers one last magnificent time!!! so this evening, after supper (it was still pretty warm out), i went outside and got to work.
now, i'll be honest here. other than moving the original tiny plants from those itty-bitty container things you buy them in at the store, i've never transplanted anything. so, you can imagine, i'm a little freaked out right now. these are wonderful plants, my favourite herbs, and i really hope i didn't kill them. but you know, this sort of fly by the seat of my pants kind of approach to planting herbs obviously hasn't failed me before, so let's hope it works this time.
oh, i guess i should tell you what i have: the itty bitty one is rosemary, the giant tree-ish looking thing at the back is parsley, and the giant, viny monster plant on the left is oregano. mmm.... oregano...

Friday, October 16, 2009

know what i love?

finding good stuff in my freezer.

this morning, while pondering supper for tonight, i went digging through my freezer. and oh, the treasures i found!!!!

treasure #1:
a casserole a friend had given me a while back (probably a couple months, by now), all frozen and with promises of deliciousness. so i took it out, threw it in the oven, and we enjoyed it for lunch.

oh, guess i should tell you what it was, eh? teehee it was a chicken and potato casserole, with veggies. it was soooo good. chunks of potato, lots of chicken, yummy veggies. it was comfort on a plate. so, thank-you, deb, you're wonderful! <3

treasure #2:
a bag of chicken thighs. actually i found two bags, though i only used one. i took it out, threw it into my big crock-pot, smothered it with bbq sauce, and it was ready in time for supper. i also chopped up a couple carrots this afternoon while making carrot soup (recipe to be posted in a few minutes), and it was absolutely delicious!!! the boys liked it, i loved it, and charlie seemed happy there were leftovers on asher's plate.

there are other things i love, too. like my freezer. and not just because of today. i just generally love my freezer.

my crock-pots. love them. i can't even describe how much!! they please me. i have a big one and a smaller one, and they're perfect. there used to be a blog called "A Year of Crockpotting" and every day there was another recipe for something in the crock-pot. it was awesome. i put the link on here at one point, but her year is up, so i doubt if there's anything new posted. but back in the day, i enjoyed that blog. especially her post about crockpot haggis. honestly, that had to be one of the funniest things i'd read in AGES - and the picture of the box the meat came in, marked "not for human consumption" made me laugh out loud!!

my breadmaker. i use it at least 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes more. it's wonderful. and so easy. and i don't think i need to tell you how nice it is to come home to the smell of freshly-baked bread. mmmm... carbs...

i think that's about it. oh, no, wait. there's one more thing i love.

my giant pot. i've been a soup-making fiend lately, and that's the pot i use. 'nuff said.

that's it now. well, probably not, but i'll stop here. i'll post more when i think of them. ;)

annie's fabulous homemade granola bars

4 cups oats
4 cups rice crispies
1 cup raisins (or chocolate chips, which are infinitely better than raisins, but that's just me. LOL)
2 cups sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla

boil and melt the last 4 ingredients and add to the rest mixing well. Press mixture into 2 greased cookie sheets or pans and allow to cool completely before slicing. Once sliced wrap individually or stack in an airtight container. Just be sure to place a sheet of wax paper between each layer.

i've made these before, and they really are very good. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmy!!!!!!! the kids love them, so i think i'll be making them (possibly with kidlets helping) this weekend for lunches and snacks next week. can't wait, either! :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

and if you listen carefully, you'll hear annie weeping ;)

oh, my grandmother would be proud of me right now. i have not one but TWO loads of laundry drying outside right now (the other one isn't pictured because it's underwear, and i'm not really in the mood to publish our gitch for all the cyber-world to see LOL).
and ok, granted, i'm only drying the clothes this way because the dryer isn't working, but you know, right now, i'm not really in a hurry to figure out what's wrong. (partly because i think it's a blown fuse, and that's in the yucky basement, so it can stay blown for now.)
but still, none of this negates the fact that i currently, as i type, at this very moment, have 2 - count 'em, 2!! - loads of laundry hanging to dry outside. ah, simplicity. :)
oh, and asher gets his GJ-tube changed to a G-tube today, which is exciting. has nothing to do with my simple life, but i'm excited, so there you go! ;)
UPDATE: why must it take so long to dry clothes outside?!?! i still have at least 2 or 3 more loads to do, and i have nowhere to hang them until this stuff is dry!!!! ARRRRRGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

look what i just found!

i have a programme that lets me "stumble" randomly around the internet. i've found some really cool things in my travels. here's the latest:

apparently, it's a website full of oil-free, fat-free vegan recipes... very healthy, and i'm thinking of giving some of these recipes a whirl at some point. so i thought i'd share it with you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

i think i can, i think i can, i think i can, i think i can

ok, so, i don't know how many of you readers know this, but i journal. a lot. it helps me to sort through my life, my self, my feelings, my journey in general. so i like it. today, while writing about something else, i branched off into "how can i be better at housework?", and i thought i'd share it with you. now remember, this is from part-way through a journal entry, so the beginning is rather abrupt here. but here you go:

and i'm not quite as good as i'd like to be in some areas. i'd like to be a harder worker.... and i need to work harder at things like integrity, being a role model, self-control, discipline, but also having fun. basically, balance.

God, please make me the woman You want me to be.

yikes! what a prayer!! God, help me to mean that prayer, and don't let me be afraid of that prayer.

but i think it's do-able (strengthening my weaker areas), so long as i remember balance. that's the key. when i get all fired up and go at it in a manic, frenzied determination, it never lasts. i burn out, get discouraged and depressed, and nothing changes.

so what's the trick? what's the path to success? i'm thinking specifically about housework, for example. what are my obstacles?
  1. doing it alone
  2. lack of routine
  3. uber long to do lists
  4. emotional exhaustion
  5. physical exhaustion
  6. an "i hate housework" attitude.

alright, now that i've identified my obstacles, i need to identify some solutions.

  • the kids need chores, and those need to be displayed prominently to remind them (and me). i've already assigned the chores; now i just have to display - and enforce - them.
  • i need a routine. a daily routine, but also a weekly and - dare i say it? - monthly and - eep! - yearly routine. basically, i need to know what gets done when. i need to make regular time for housework, every day at the same time.
  • my uber long to do lists can be shortened, now that i'm thinking about it.
  1. make a list of everything that needs to be done
  2. assign as many tasks as is possible and reasonable (to kids, to friends - like helping to build stuff around the house, to hired people).
  3. rank remaining items by importance and deadline
  4. ask of each item: Do i have to do this, or can someone else? how long will this take me to accomplish? how urgent is this item? when MUST it be done by? do i need any supplies to accomplish this?
  • emotional exhaustion can be beaten by balancing work and play. going for walks, playing with the kids, creating, working in the garden, coffee with friends. routine will also help with this, since i'll know when work gets done, etc. also, a shortened, organized to do list will prevent me from feeling overwhelmed. cutting myself a bit of slack, remaining realistic in my goals, and not hating myself when i don't succeed right off the bat. i will never be annie brown (love ya, girlie, but we both know it's true! LOL) or martha stewart, but i can do better than what i do now. perfection isn't possible, but improvement is.
  • i need to rest. i need to accept help, and i need to ask for help. and i need to sleep. if, in the afternoon, i'm tired, i'll nap. better nutrition will also help. and i think that once i've started working on alleviating my emotional exhaustion, my physical exhaustion will also be taken care of.
  • my "i hate housework" attitude is crap, i'll admit. when i get down to doing the job, i generally enjoy it. i like doing laundry. i like doing dishes. what i hate is the seeming un-ending-ness of it all. you know what i mean. how you wash all the dishes, then kids want a drink of juice and bam! a dirty glass. same goes for laundry. and sweeping, now that i'm thinking about it. LOL but once i get a routine in place, and i know when things get done, and i can stay on top of things, it'll be better, and i'll actually start to enjoy housework again. because i used to, once upon a time. and i know i can again. i just have to not feel so overwhelmed, that's all.

i think i can do this. i really do. it's possible. it's totally do-able. and i can succeed at this. wish me luck!!! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

ah, the green life... i love it... when it's not scary. and you weren't there, so don't judge me!!!!!

ok, so, we all know my fondness for simple, cheap (read: free) green ideas for the home. for example, once i've finished this post, i'm going to go throw a load of towels in the washing machine, and then dry them outside.

but, in the last little while, i'll admit, gentle reader, i've slacked off. but it's not my fault!!! ok, it is. it's just - just - well, here's the story:

so, a few weeks ago, i had to empty out my itty bitty compostainer that i keep in the cupboard. and it had been a while. (can you see where i'm going with this yet?) so, i opened it up to put a couple things in there before going outside, and...


i can't even describe how gross it was! it was beyond furry! think cousin it. yeah. eww! i've got the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it now!!! (and laugh all you want, but you didn't see it. it was gross!!)

so i took the container outside, hoping to dump said grossness into the compostainer. well. apparently, not so much.

i turned the container over, so the compostables would tumble out. and yes, a few things fell out. a few small things. the rest of the stuff - and there was quite a bit! - STAYED IN THE CONTAINER!!! THE ENTITY (as i came to call it) WAS HOLDING IT ALL IN!!!! i banged the container on the edge of the receptacle, hoping that would free some food waste. nope. i cried a bit, hoping the compost gods would hear my plea and loosen the banana peels and such from their hairy prison. nope.

then i looked inside again.

and got grossed out again.

and tossed it across the yard.

and there it stayed.

until today, when i finally had the nerve to approach it.

you see, until now, i was afraid that the Entity would have been a tad ticked off at being launched across the backyard. so i was afraid. very afraid. but today, i figured, nothing can withstand the heat , especially inside a plastic container in the sun! certainly the solar flare that is the atmosphere today must have destroyed the Entity and all that dared to defend it. so i went to get the container.

cautiously, mind you.

and i picked it up.

cautiously, mind you.

and looked inside.

cautiously, mind you.

and it was no worse than it had been before. in fact, it seems the Entity suffers from hair loss (think Cousin It at age 75). maybe some brave (or stupid) little critter wandered in and feasted on old apple cores and such. who knows. who cares. not me. all i care is that E was not quite so scary today.

so i brought it inside (where my children are, which shows how much better things were in the little container) and was going to clean it. but no way am i sticking my hand in there just yet!!!! no way!!!!!!

so i bombed it.

that's right. dumped in some baking soda. then, because that's not enough, poured in the rest of the vinegar i had in the house. and it blew up.

and most importantly, it destroyed the Entity. well, killed it, anyway. i still had to clean the container out.

and i'll admit, i was tempted to reach for my lysol wipes (yes, i have some, and i think they're evil, but they're just so easy!!!!! bad green girl, bad BAD green girl!!!). but i thought, no, this is a compostainer. it's good for the earth. i should use something earth friendly to clean it. (and yes, you're detecting some resignation there. but lysol kills 99.9% of bacteria!!! does anyone know the stats on baking soda?? tell me if you do, because i don't!) so i dumped in more baking soda. and grabbed some paper towels.

again, you weren't there. so don't judge me. this Entity was gross. and scary. and by now, dead, granted. but, still. no way do i want the residual of that Thing on the cloths in my house, sitting with my towels until they're washed, and then who knows if it would spread and get on the other stuff i have in that load. yuck!!! i can throw out paper towels, and then they're gone. at least, that's what i did with my first couple paper towels. the last two, that weren't so gross, are now, you'll be pleased to note, sitting inside my wonderful little compostainer with a banana peel, remnants of a spinach salad, and bits of tomato, green pepper and cucumber.

and the compostainer? clean as a whistle, and gross-ness free, thanks to the wonder of baking soda!!! :)

welcome back, old friend. i've missed you. may your insides be filled with yucky veggie bits, apple cores and banana peels, and may your contents remain hairless from now on.

Canada Day (ok, i know, it's late, but i just found these pics)

improv smores... on the BBQ! (and note the warm clothing... in july... yeah...)
the kids had sooooo much fun making (and eating) the smores.

oh, dear. why does he look this happy while he's burning something? LOL

Sunday, August 16, 2009

chores, chores, chores

so now, as always, housework must be dealt with. and as you know, i hate housework. i HATE housework. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE IT!

but i have kids who are now old enough to help out around the house. seven, four and two are old enough for jobs (albeit very simple jobs for the 2-year-old). yes, folks, THIS is why i bred. in the hopes that, one day, however distant it seemed at the time, there would be someone here to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, take out the garbage, tidy the house, do the dishes... basically, everything. teehee

and so, on that note, i give you.... .... THE CHORE LIST!!!!

Blithe (age 7)
feed Smokey... twice daily. (it's her job b/c smokey's food and dishes have to be on top of the dryer, out of charlie's reach. but this also puts it out of bram's reach, so it falls to blithe.)

make her bed

put clothes in hamper

help with supper prep

drying the dishes

sweeping (her request, b/c "i LOVE sweeping!")

Bram (age 4)
feed Charlie (our new doggie - boxer/shar pei mix - he's awesome, though dumb as dirt! but i love him!). (once daily.)

make his bed

pick up cars, trains, tracks

help with lunch prep

wash the dishes (he specifically requested this one, and really, who am i to argue? [see why i bred comment above]). (and let me explain this task: he's mostly washing plastic stuff, and the cutlery, minus sharp knives. i may be lazy... er, i mean, ready and willing to instill in my kids a good work ethic... but i do have enough sense not to hand him a butcher knife or china tea cup to wash.)

Asher (age 2)
tidy cars, trains and tracks

put plastic dishes, etc away

help with laundry (now let me explain this task: i take the clothes out of the washing machine one by one, and hand them to him. he puts them in the dryer. and later... i take the clothes out of the dryer one by one, and hand them to him. he puts them in the laundry basket. and we spend the whole time talking about colours, shapes, animals, favourites, etc etc etc)

so far, so good. i've already had to shoo the kids away from the sink b/c they had other jobs they needed to do more urgently than dishes. and they've been feeding the animals very well over the last couple days already. except bram, who seems to think that it's too much work to put more than 4 or 5 bits of food in charlie's dish, but he'll learn. lol

and this isn't to say i've delegated all the work to the kids. as you can imagine, i have a TON of stuff to do around here, including re-arranging the house, organizing the chaos, grocery stuff, cooking, washing pots and pans, laundry, and wishing i could afford a housekeeper. lol

i'll let you know how it all goes in a week (provided i can still find my laptop by then).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

best. stew. ever.

i made stew for supper tonight. yes, in august. i'm aware. but today is dreary and grey and wet and all-around late fall-ish.

and i was craving stew.

so i made some.

and let me tell you how. (normally, i wouldn't post a "recipe" for stew, since it's so basic. but i'm rather proud of myself for this, so i thought i would share my domestic genius with you. lol)

so, back in the day, probably, march-ish, i picked up a giant thing of stewing beef at the grocery store. and some freezer bags. (figured out where this is going? yes, i'm just that good! haha)

i came home and got to work. i divided up the beef into 3 or 4 freezer bags, about 2/3 full.

then i cut up a couple onions, and tossed them in.

then i grabbed some baby carrots (because i hate chopping veggies, and if God gives you a short-cut, i say take it!!) and tossed them into the bags.

and tossed the bags into the freezer.

so this afternoon, with my INSANE craving for stew (of all things!), i got out a covered bowl thing (the name escapes me at the moment), and went to work.

but gah! a problem! no potatoes! and you simply can't have stew without potatoes!! what's a girl to do?!

i'll tell you what a girl is to do... grab a bag of hashbrowns out of the freezer, and pour some into the bowl-thing. then put in the frozen stew-in-a-bag.

next, add a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. (see "when God gives you a shortcut" comment above.)

add some parsley, thyme and bay leaves.

dump on generous amounts of Worcestershire sauce. (mmm... liquid salt...)

add a bit of water.

cover, and toss into the oven (ok, place it in the oven. otherwise, if you toss it, the lid will likely come off and you'll end up with stew all over your oven, and i don't know about you, but the LAST thing i want to be doing on a saturday night is cleaning my oven) which should be preheated to (what did i randomly turn the nob to? i'm guessing here, folks, but i think it was somewhere around) 375 degrees F.

bake for a couple hours.

remove from oven. remove bay leaves.

and enjoy! :)

seriously. best. stew. ever.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The epic to do list for the week. And i do mean EPIC!!!

Yeah, it's long. If you want to read it, go grab yourself a coffee, take a deep breath, and settle in somewhere comfy... LOL

Fold laundry
Put away laundry
Compostainer put away
Garbage can put away
Finish mowing front/side lawn
Mow back lawn
Organize craft cart
Clean up wood chips (throughout house, thanks to a dog who loves to eat wood... esterday, he found the kids' blocks. Yeah. Nice, eh? Ugh)
Tidy playroom
Clean floors
Clean bathroom
Buy kitty litter
Clean kitty litter
Make supper (Monday. Enchiladas.)
Toddler bed to Edwin
White chair to my room
Boxes, etc out of boys' room
Dressers to boys' room
Remove change table extension from asher's dresser
Take pic of my bed
Disassemble my bed
Assemble my new bed
Post my bed on freecycle
Corner cabinet to its new home
Book counselling appointment
Container for charlie's toys
Play rugs to playroom
Move TV to living room
Move crate to playroom
Replace curtain rod
Change curtain rod in blithe's room
Pull weeds (driveway, side, garden)
Separate and move hostas
Mortgage payment
Plan this week's menu
Sort/purge shoes
Blog re: self-esteem and standing up for myself
Pack kids' suitcases
Make pesto
Fix mirror in bathroom

That's right. 42 items. Fortunately, a friend of mine has graciously offered to help me, and he and i have come with a reward system to inspire us. One little reward for each item we cross off the list, and when the whole list is complete, one big reward. J hence, my FB status right now: "heather is looking forward to a day of housework and crossing things off a VERY long to do list. ;)" so don't feel too sorry for me. I'm inspired this week, and it will all get done. J

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

getting you all caught up (aka miscellaneous pics from the last few weeks)

my girlie and me :)

the boys, out for a walk together

the newest addition to our family... Smokey Ribbons (she looks unimpressed here b/c i interrupted her bath for the pic. lol)

asher head-butted blithe in the mouth, and her (already very loose) fell out. is there anything cuter than a kid's toothless grin? i don't think so! :) she just looks so much more mature now. :)

now that asher can sleep in a normal bed, all three kids love to sleep together. and even with asher's feeding tube, they all get a good rest (once they stop playing and actually fall asleep, that is!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

wow, it's been a while!

i can't believe how long it's been since i've posted here! my bad. :( ah, well... i'm making up for it with a couple sweet, sweet pics of my boys, playing in the nearly-empty sandbox in the backyard (you'll note all the sand around the sandbox, though *rolls eyes and laughs*)
i guess the reason i haven't posted recently is because there hasn't been much in the way of simplicity around here lately. lots of appointments and trips to emerg for asher, which has taken up a lot of my time and energy. but... he's starting to improve thanks to some wonderful old-man meds (beta-blockers, gotta love 'em! lol)... so... there is something resembling simplicity in our world again.
and that pleases me.
know what else pleases me? sunshine. and temps in the 20s. awesome!!!!! we just had lunch at the picnic table, and the second they were done eating, the boys practically dove into the sandbox!! it's so wonderful to finally be able to spend time outside... in fact, i'm typing this post outside right now! :)
how much do i love spring, eh?!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coke Pork Chops

1 cup ketchup
1 cup coke (or miscellaneous cola-type beverage, but we all know coke is best!)
2 tbsp brown sugar
8 pork chops
salt and pepper, to taste

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. mix together ketchup, coke and brown sugar.
3. place pork chops in a baking pan, and cover with coke mixture, coating well. sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. bake for about one hour, depending on the thickness of the pork chop.

prep time: 10 mins
bake time: 1 hr

**this is also a good recipe for chicken. for chicken breasts, cooking time is approx. 40 mins for thick breasts.

i am SOOOOO making this for supper tonight!!! i'll update later with the verdict!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Super Easy Donuts

2 Tbsp white vinegar
3/8 cup milk
2 tbsp shortening
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 quart oil for deep-frying
½ cup confectioner's sugar for dusting


  1. Stir the vinegar into the milk, and let stand for a few minutes until thick.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture alternating with the vinegar and milk. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/3 inch thick. Cut into donuts using a donut cutter. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry donuts in the hot oil until golden, turning over once. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioner's sugar while still warm, and serve immediately.


"Super Easy Donuts"?! more like "Super Yummy Donuts"!!!!

Now granted, i'm not a baker. In fact, i ran into a minor glitch when i realized i don't even own a sifter! but i have one now, likely only to be used when making these donuts!!! They're yummy! Be warned, they're not like timmie's donuts. These are old-school, homemade donuts. So crispy and good..... sorry, started drooling there. Yeah. Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum. (and yes, staci, that's 7! Le wink) so, yeah. These are lovely.

One minor complaint though. I don't think they were very realistic when they said "serve immediately." To be honest, you're going to want to eat these all yourself. Make a separate batch to serve, and sneak the rest of the batch into your mouth before anyone notices!

Monday, March 9, 2009

We’re gonna give this a whirl, and see how it goes

OK, so if you know me, you know that if there is one thing on this earth i hate, it's housework. I mean, really, blech. Can't stand it. I think the lack of a housework fairy was a grave oversight in creation. So, needless to say, if i had to choose something to do with my time, it would not be housework. And oh, look how! Every day i end up falling further and further behind in this area.

And i hate it.

So it's gonna stop.


But really, i hate it enough that i can't simply say, "oh, yes, i know i hate it, but i'll be uber-diligent from now on." I know you'd think i could do it, but really, i can't. And i'm not going to say how i know this about myself, but trust me, it's true. So here's what i'm gonna try. A schedule. Break up the housework by day, and then set aside a certain time in the day for it.

So, here we go:

Daily Routine

Kids to school at 8:45


pick up Bram/lunch

work while boys are napping

pick up Blithe/snack



dishes and tidying


"me" time


Oh, i suppose i should have mentioned something. "Homeblessing" is what my dear friend Annie calls housework and chores. I like it. So i'm stealing it. Maybe it will help change my attitude about it if i call it something else. That's the theory, anyway. We'll see if it works.

Now, for the "homeblessing" time block: every day, i'm going to do one major task, and then of course the little things like sweeping, etc. My grandmother had a weekly "homeblessing" schedule, and it worked for her, so i'm giving it a whirl. Besides, if i have a day for laundry, i'll know the kids will always have clean underwear, and NO ONE wants to run out of clean underwear! lol

Weekly Routine

Monday: menu planning, groceries

Tuesday: cooking, baking (it happens... sometimes!)

Wednesday: laundry

Thursday: clean bedrooms, wash bedding and towels

Friday: bathroom/kitchen, floors, dusting


So, yeah, i'm gonna give this a whirl. But haha, you'll note that this morning, i'm blogging instead of menu planning and groceries! So i'm already off to a rip-roaring start! LOL but now i'm going to get to work on the menu, and take the boys shopping this afternoon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mexican Stuffed Shells

12-18 large pasta shells, cooked
1 lb lean ground beef
3 tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup salsa, divided
1 cup grated cheese, divided
750 ml tomato sauce
chili powder
green onion (garnish)

1. brown ground beef. drain.
2. add seasoning, water, onion, 1/2 cup salsa, 1/4 cup cheese.
3. mix together remaining salsa, tomato sauce, cheese.
4. spread thin layer of sauce in bottom of 9x12 baking pan.
5. fill each shell with ground beef mixture and place in pan.
6. pour remaining sauce on top. sprinkle on the rest of the cheese on top and garnish with green onion.
7. bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 mins (or in my kitchen, "until it's done.")
8. if desired, sprinkle additional cheese on top after baking and return to oven for 5 mins longer or until cheese melts.

YUMMU!!! this was really, really good. my mom can't handle spice, so i didn't use much chili powder, and instead of tomato sauce, i used crushed tomatoes and 2 big garlic cloves. and it was lovely!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

breathe deeply. smell that? it's simplicity.

this afternoon was beautiful. the sun was shining, the air was cool and crisp, and the snow was all gone.

ok, so the snow wasn't all gone, but the sidewalks were clear.

and really, as much as i love my tek, the day was far too perfect to drive. no, today was the perfect day for walking.

after a short nap, the boys and i put on our coats and shoes (no boots today!), and i put asher in the stroller. and then.......

we walked to pick up blithe from school.

yup, you read that right. we walked.

and it was the perfect day for it.

and we all loved it. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ok, seriously, someone i know needs to make this..... and then give it to staci and me! teehee

Inside-Out Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers with Oven O-Rings


6 slices turkey bacon, chopped

1 tbsp EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

1 cup cornmeal

1 tsp smoked chipotle powder or 2 tsp chilli powder

All-purpose flour, for dredging, about 1 cup

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 large sweet onion, sliced ½ inch thick and divided into rings

2 lbs ground turkey breast

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup spicy brown mustard

¾ cup shredded or crumbled sharp Cheddar cheese

½ head of redleaf or other lettuce, chopped

1 beefsteak tomato, sliced

4 kosher dill pickles, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Arrange the bacon in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Slowly crisp up the bacon, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the bacon from the skillet and, when cool, chop. Add the EVOO to the remaining drippings and set aside.
  3. While the bacon is crisping, combine he cornmeal and chipotle powder in a shallow bowl. Set up two more shallow bowls, filling one with the flour and the other with the buttermilk. Dip the onion rings in the buttermilk, then dredge the rings in the flour, tossing them lightly in your hands to remove the excess. Dip them once again in the buttermilk, and finally coat them fully with the cornmeal mixture. Place the dredged rings on a cookie sheet and bake until crispy, 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. While the onion rings are baking, place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix in the mustard. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a burger, making a well in the center. Fill the well of each with one quarter of the crisp bacon pieces and 2 tbsp of the cheese. Carefully form the burger around the cheese and bacon filling, making sure the filling is completely covered. Return the skillet you cooked the bacon in to medium-high heat. Add the burger patties to the hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes longer, turning occasionally. Do not press down on the burgers as they cook.
  5. Serve each burger on a bed of lettuce topped with sliced tomato, chopped pickles, and a few oven o-rings.

Serves 4

Monday, February 9, 2009

so, we're setting the table for dinner tonight, and as i'm wiping the table, Bram is playing with his plate, tapping it on the table and making a lot of noise of it. i say, "bram, please stop that. thank-you."

bram says, "but don't you like it, mommy? it's my song that i wrote. it's called the plate song."

what do you say to that?! lol i kissed him on the forehead, and blogged it. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Incredibly Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hr 15 mins

Makes 8 servings

2 lbs ground turkey

I cup milk

I cup rolled oats

2 eggs

1 pkg ranch dressing mix

¾ lb cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the turkey, milk, oats, eggs, and ranch mix by hand. Fold the cheese cubes into the mixture. Transfer to a loaf pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C).

This is in the oven right now, and mm-mmmm, does it ever smell good! J i'll update after we try it. My mom made it the other week, minus the ranch dressing mix. That's my little improv. But it works in the turkey burgers, so hey, why not in meatloaf, i figure. We shall see. Like i said, i'll update later tonight. Bon app├ętit!

UPDATE: this was AWESOME!!!!!!!! highly recommend it, give it a whirl. love it love it love it love it love it

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grilled Raspberry-Glazed Chicken

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 tbsp dijon mustard
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries

1. brush grill rack with vegetable oil. heat gas or charcoal grill. in small bowl, mix jam and mustard.
2. place chicken on grill. cover grill; cook over medium heat 15 - 20 minutes, brushing occasionally with jam mixture and turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees F). discard any remaining jam mixture.
3. serve chicken topped with raspberries.

prep time: 25 minutes
makes 6 servings

this (according to the book) goes nicely coleslaw and garlic bread. give it a whirl! :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

can you say, "SUPERBOWL PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Chili-Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 13 min
Makes: 32

What You Need
1 pkg. (250 g) PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (425 g) chili
1 cup KRAFT Tex Mex Shredded Cheese
1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup sliced green onions

Make It
SPREAD cream cheese onto bottom and up side of 9-inch microwaveable pie plate or quiche dish; top with chili and shredded cheese.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 3 min. or until dip is heated through and cheese is melted.
TOP with tomatoes and onions Serve with tortilla chips or Christie Crackers.

Kraft Kitchens Tips
Use Your Oven
Heat oven to 350°F. Assemble dip in ovenproof baking dish. Bake 20 to 25 min. or until dip is heated through and shredded cheese is melted. Serve as directed.

Special Extra
Mix 1 seeded and chopped fresh jalapeno pepper with chili before spreading over cream cheese.
Prepare as directed, using Philadelphia Light Brick Cream Cheese Spread and/or 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans for the chili.

or, check out the link. there's a picture there.

Why I Write Here

i like this blog. this is where i write about homelife. my kids, my pets, recipes, natural cleaning products, gardening, cool finds... that's what i write about here. this is the hands-on part of my personal journey. i'm reclaiming myself, a self i lost in a hospital somewhere, among all the meds, plastic, waste and complexity that comes with Special Needs parenting. i crave simplicity, and this is my journey to create it for my family and me.

i'm prolific! check out my other blogs!

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