Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cream of Chicken Soup for the Soul

I have a confession to make.  The last three recipes I cooked for my family were made with cream of chicken soup.  Not only that, but I will probably make them all again.  Because, yes, they were that good.

 I have mixed feelings about canned cream of chicken soup (hereinafter referred to as CCCS).  I'm a believer in the whole foods revolution. I don't want all of my food to come from a factory. I know there is crap in those cans of soup that I probably don't want in my body, or in the bodies of my children. But I'll be honest. I am eight months pregnant and pretty happy to be putting food on the table on a regular basis. So, don't judge. If you have sworn off CCCS you can stop reading now. You don't need to glory in my recipe success the way I do.  But ya know, these recipes were all easy. And these days, I am all about easy.

Recipe 1:  Curry and Rice

1 T. curry powder
1-2 t. sugar
1/2-1 lb. cooked shredded chicken
1/2 c. frozen peas
Cooked rice

I didn't even use a recipe for this one.  I just mixed a CCCS with a tablespoon of curry and about a teaspoon or two of sugar added some cooked shredded chicken and some peas.  Heated it all in a sauce pan and served it over rice.  Even my two year old ate it.  He usually takes one look at what I put in front of him and says "No like it" before even tasting it.  It took a little coaxing (and maybe a few threats) to get over that hump, but he did eat it.  And he did like it.

Recipe 2: Crock Pot Salisbury Steak

2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
1 pkg dry au jus mix
3/4 c. water

This recipe was a pin I stuck on my crock pot Pinterest board.  I made it to take to dinner at my in-laws.  We ate it with instant mashed potatoes and canned green beans and it was delicious.  Although next time I will probably make it with cream of mushroom soup instead.

Anyway, all you do is mix the beef, the onion soup mix, bread crumbs together and milk and then form 8 patties.  Brown them in a little oil and place them in the crock.  Mix the CCCS, au jus mix and water together and pour over the patties.  Cook on low for about 6 hours or high for 4.  Makes lots of yummy gravy.

Recipe 3: Creamy Pesto Sauce

1/3-1/2 c. pesto
1/2 c. milk
1/2 lb. pasta uncooked (I used penne)
2 c. cooked shredded chicken

My sister-in-law and I made a TON of pesto this summer.  She grew an abundance of basil in her garden and we turned lots of it into pesto.  Now I have the pleasure of coming up with things to do with it.  Here is one that I will be making again because it's easy and the kids scarfed it down.  My four year old even had seconds.  When does that happen?

Just mix everything but the pasta in a sauce pan.  Obviously, you will want to boil the pasta before eating it, but I think you might have figured that out on your own.  When the pasta was done I mixed it into the sauce, but you don't have to follow my lead.

Well, there you have it: three easy meals from a pregnant lady.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Easy Caramel Popcorn

I have fond memories of making caramel popcorn on a Sunday afternoon when I was a kid.  I remember that it took a long time to cook the caramel and that it had to get to a soft ball stage.  I liked dripping some into a bowl of cold water to see if it formed a ball.  I didn't like how long it too.

Well, this last Sunday my childhood memories got the best of me and I was craving caramel popcorn.  Of course no one can find the recipe we used as kids so I found this one that seemed simple enough.  And wow!  Super simple, super fast, and super delicious.  No more lumps of caramel in a water bowl.  But I think I can get over that.

Caramel Popcorn

1 cup of unpopped popcorn, popped in a air popper
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup dark Karo syrup

We put all the popcorn in a large stock pot so we could cover it all at once.  Melt the butter on medium.  Add sugar and Karo.  Turn up the heat slightly and bring to a boil.  Boil one minute.  Stir into popcorn.

It's that easy.  The hard part is no eating it for breakfast.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cinnamon Applesauce Pancakes/Waffles

Remember how clear back in October I mentioned that I had made some pancakes like these?  Well, I never got around to the post.  They were really too good not to share and we made them again this morning only as waffles.  The recipe works well for either pancakes or waffles.

I am also dedicating this post to my sis, Charlotte, because they use applesauce.  (Now you have something else to do with all that canning we did last year.)

Cinnamon Applesauce Pancakes/Waffles

1 c. wheat flour (Char, you can use all white if you don't want to break out your Blentec)
1/2 c. white flour
1/4 c. corn meal
1 T. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
 1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. appleasuace

Friday, November 16, 2012

Putting Instagram on Your Sidebar

It's been hard to blog in the past few months and one of the reasons is that I got a new phone and joined Instagram.  Well, I just figured out how to get my Instagram feed on my blog!  I always feel pretty cool when I figure out stuff like this!!  

Guess what?  It's super easy too.  I just used the Webstagram tool to generate the code.  I looked at a few other sites too, but this was by far the easiest.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Common Causes of Internet Trouble

It all started this morning with a few cuss words.  Bryce was in the middle of an email when our wireless internet went down.  We use Clear, and while the service has generally been fine, Bryce likes to grumble occasionally that they don't have ESPN3.  (I personally maintain that it's a good thing that he doesn't have access to ESPN3 while he is in school.  But in the name of maintaining happiness in marriage we try not to discuss it.)

Following the cuss words, (which won't be repeated here because this is a family blog so to speak) I told Bryce that just last night I was having trouble with the internet and had to unplug the router a few times before I got it back up and running.  I also mentioned that there was a class action against Clear that had to do with service issues.  We were both getting ourselves worked up into a tizzy and ready to call and yell at someone over the phone.  (We HATE being without our internet.  It's sort of like air around here.)  So I walked into the other room to see if restarting the modem would work when I saw this:

Our children had unplugged the router and turned it into a place for plastic Thanksgiving decorations.  Well, problem solved.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ginger Snaps for a Cold Wintery Day

It's been snowing where I live.  A lot.  We live near the mouths of both Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons.  It seems like the snow has barely taken a breather since yesterday morning.  I bet there is at least a foot and a half out there.

We did try to measure it, but it said that it was only a foot.  None of us believed it.

The snow caused me to cancel some plans that I was really looking forward to.  As compensation I made these ginger snaps with my two favorite cooks.  They are a really big help.  Sort of.

We ate them warm out of the oven.  Such a treat with so much snow outside.

Ginger Snaps

3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
more sugar for rolling

Cream the shortening and sugar together.  Add the molasses and egg and mix a little more.  Next mix in all the spices.  Add the flours last and mix until combined well.

Make balls of dough and roll in sugar.  I used my cookie scoop.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and smoosh with fork.  Bake 10 minutes at 325.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'll be honest

The past few weeks I haven't really felt like blogging.  Ya know, sometimes life is hard.  But I have thought a lot about blogging.  Here are some of the things I thought about telling you about.

Applesauce pancakes.  Super delicious.

No knead "English Muffin" Bread I saw on Pinterest.  It was easy but not as good as my whole wheat bread.

Grocery shopping with a tiger.

At the zoo with dinosaurs.  (Can you tell we are a little into costumes?)

Chinese tiger hat.

Another Chinese tiger.
 So, life is good and I have lots of projects going.  None of them are making it onto the computer.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sometimes Life Gets Away From You

Has it really been a week and a half since my last post?  Wow, I must have been busy.  Oh, yeah.  I was.  Here is what we/I have been up to:

Kimball started preschool and I am consequently  trying to adjust to a new schedule.

My in-laws peach tree exploded in fruit and I spent two days canning over 50 quarts of peach jam (no, that was not a typo) and 56 quarts of peaches.

We attended the Brigham City Utah Temple Open House with my in-laws.

I read all these books and couldn't put any of them down.  They are all about cooking and food.  Loved, loved, loved them.  (I tried to make the link work to amazon, but I couldn't, sorry. )

If you are a home cook and want to improve your cooking then the Kitchen Counter Cooking School is a must read.  Loved it!!

Well, now you are all caught up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hash Browns in the Waffle Iron

I don't know if any of you have seen this on Pinterest, but it's the simple idea of cooking hash browns in a waffle iron.  I decided to give it a try.  I used dehydrated hasbrowns for the experiment since we have those on hand.  I also decided to pour a little oil in the pan so they would be nice and crispy.  They turned out delicious and were 10 times easier than frying them in the pan because I didn't have to flip them!  Total success.  I will definitely be doing this again.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Snake Teeth a.k.a. Random Things I Do To Keep My Kids Happy

A number of weeks ago I bought my kids "snake chompers" on a trip to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden.  Kimball's snake was an Indian Cobra, while Stan's was a Rattlesnake.   Kimball seemed happy with his choice until he realized that the cobra had smaller teeth than the rattlesnake.  Do you think the 2-year-old would trade?  Of course not!

So Kimball started asking me to "make bigger teeth" for his snake.  Really?  Do I look like I have a magic wand?

But I do have a glue gun!  So I managed to create teeth with hot glue that when dried was clear but significantly longer.

Mission accomplished.  Happy kid.  Amazing Mom.  Yeah, I'm bragging a bit.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

I wanted to wait to post my pumpkin chocolate chip recipe until I could put up more pictures of the cakes I have made with it.  It makes a great wedding cake, you know.  But all my cake pictures are on our iMac and I use my laptop for most things.  I guess what I'm saying is that I'm too lazy to give you more cake pictures.  But in my defense I have had a sick 2 year old.  

Here is another picture of the 2 year old's cute cake.  Just ignore the lame background.  It's hard to take a good picture when two kids are about to stick their fingers in the cake and keep grabbing the train.

On another note, I have been working on making some recipe cards for a little project.  Hopefully I get around to posting that too.  I'm pretty excited about how the cards are turning out.  Just click on the picture and you can download a copy.  It's in the right size to have it printed on 4x6 photo paper.  Just send it to Costco or Wallgreens (or wherever you like to go) and then you can stick it with your other recipes.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Butterfly Mobile

The other day I needed something to distract my kids from wanting to watch more TV.  So I scoured all my pins for toddler things and on the website for one of those pins for something like a gazillion toddler activities I saw something for a butterfly mobile.  I didn't bother following instructions.  I just cut out a bunch of butterflies from old scrapbook paper, let them color them and then hung them from string on two hangers. 

Nothing too exciting, but we did manage to avoid more TV.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Stany!

Last week we had a birthday around here.  My little guy turned 2!  I can hardly believe it.  Here he is answering the question "How old are you?"

I made him a train cake.  The tracks are mini Kit-Kats.  Ha ha.  So cute.  And the cake was pumpkin chocolate chip.  I'll have to post the recipe soon.

We celebrated with cousins.  Yay for cousins!  Thanks for celebrating with us, guys.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bedtime Monsters

My kids are really good kids.  That is until bedtime.  Then something snaps and they start doing the opposite of what I tell them to do.  "Stay in bed."  Nope.  "Don't throw your blankets and pillows in the floor."  Not a chance.  "Go to sleep!"  Don't even think about it.

At our house the monsters aren't in the closet, they are in the beds!

It is not unusual for them to clear their beds of blankets (and sheets if possible) and turn their beds into trampolines.  They also love to empty the bookcase of all books making it nearly impossible to open the door and tuck them back in.  Stan likes to shake the water from his sippy cup onto his bed.  One night we had to strip both beds because somehow they were both sopping wet.  I still don't know how it happened.

Consequences have no effect on them.  "If you don't stay in bed then I will turn out the light."  Five seconds later and it's lights out.  "If you get out of bed one more time then I'll close the door."  You would think this threat would work because they HATE having the door closed.  But eventually the door gets closed, the kids cry for a half hour or until I'm heartbroken from sick of all the sobbing.  Then they get tucked in again and sleep eventually ensues.  It seems like tears must precede sleep or sleep doesn't happen.

The other night the presleep escapades escalated to another level.  After we went through the entire bedtime routine, tucked them into bed and went upstairs, they got out of bed, turned the light on, piled all their blankets on one bed, topped it off with a box of shoes they had outgrown, and another box of clothes Stan had outgrown, both of which were in the closet and only accessible by climbing on top of the Ikea dresser.  Oh, and they broke the drawer to said dresser in the process--probably by jumping in it.  (It's irreparable.)  I found them happily giggling at the mess oblivious to how angry Mommy had become.

As much as I would like to blame my two monkeys, I know that some of this is my fault.  You see as soon as they are tucked in, Mom wants to punch out on the time clock.  So sometimes I play on the computer or watch TV while the two of them (noisily) concoct another scheme to drive Mom nuts and make her punch that time card once again.  And somehow I let them because I am tired.

What can I say, parenting is a little more than a full time gig.  Where to I submit my overtime?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Iron-On Flannel Board Scripture Stories

This project has been about 8 months in the making.  Ever since a neighbor shared with me this idea for making flannel board scripture stories I have been anxious to put this together.  It's so easy, but did take me some time to save up for the supplies.

List of supplies:

  • Iron on transfers.  I got mine on Amazon.  It was the cheapest I could find without driving all over town, which I hate.
  • Pelon.  This you get at a fabric store.  It's the stuff you use to reinforce fabric and comes in about a zillion thicknesses.  I chose one that was mid range.  Sturdy but not too expensive.
  • Ink for your ink jet printer in both black and color.  I add this to the list because I used about 2/3-3/4 of a color cartridge for 24 sheets printed.
  • Downloaded files of scripture stories already colored.  Get them here (this woman went to a lot of trouble so we can all benefit.)
  • Iron.
  • Hard surface.
  • A pillow case or fabric to cover hard surface.  

Here is my ironing station for this project.  You need hard surface in place of an ironing board which isn't flat enough and might not take the kind of pressure you'll need to apply.  You'll also need to get your iron HOT as in as-hot-as-it-will-go.  So you can let this heat while you move on to the printing part.

Here is the basic procedure.  Go and get the files for the scripture stories here.  Then print each one in "mirror image" on an iron on transfer sheet.  This means that you are printing it backwards.  It doesn't matter much for the pictures, but some have captions like the picture below.  You can see that I printed it backwards.

Next you will need to iron the transfer sheet to the Pelon.  The iron should be really hot and you have to apply the heat while slowing moving the iron for 3 minutes.  It feels like an eternity.  It's best to but a timer on.

After that, let it cool and peel off the backing from the transfer paper and cut out the figures.

Here are my kids watching the printer go.  I'm not sure why this is entertaining.

Each group of figures has a story with scriptures you can print too.  I did this on regular paper and then placed it with the figures in a folder.  And the folder goes into a hanging file box.  I printed 24 sheets.  I think there are twice that if you do all the Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon and Church history.  It might be a while before I can purchase enough stuff to do this again.  So I was selective on the stories I choose.

I haven't made a flannel board yet.  I'm just draping the flannel over our easel.  (Do you you think I should iron it?)

This has been a really fun project because the kids love it.  They like the scripture stories and love putting the pictures up.  Now if I can just get them to stop fighting over them.

This post is linked up at House of Hepworths, Momnivore's Dilemma, and Something Swanky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fruit Rollups with Applesauce and Jello

Yesterday I posted a pin for fruit rollups made with applesauce and jello and I couldn't wait to try it.  (The original recipe can be found here.)  

These were so easy and they were seriously the best fruit rollups I have EVER made!  Considering I have lots of applesauce from last years canning haul, this may become a favorite at our house.

1. Mix 1 quart of applesauce with one small box of jello.  I used red raspberry because that was what I had in the pantry.

 2. Spread the mixture in a dehydrator.  Mine is a pretty inexpensive one.  I have the plastic inserts for fruit rollups, but it would be nice to place the applesauce on parchment so the rollups would be easier to store when done.  I think I might have to invest in some precut parchment rounds like these.  All I would have to do it cut a hole in the middle for my dehydrator.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can do this in your oven (see this article).  I might try this next but I am waiting until I can stand to have the oven on for more than 30 minutes.  As in, maybe in November?

3.  Dehydrate for approximately 6 hours.  Mine might have got left in too long because I went shopping with my mother-in-law and my kids LOVE going to grandma's and grandpa's so we were a little late getting home.  Don't judge. 

They were still SUPER DELICIOUS.  Seriously, better than store bought.  I can't wait to try other flavors of jello.  I should go to the store right now.


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