Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Our Year in Review



Sometimes pictures say so much more than words . . . 

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sweet Local Honey on a Hot Day

We recently spent a few hours one Saturday morning touring a local farm and learning how honey is made.  While I believe that like any sweetener, you should use honey in moderation, there are some health benefits to using raw honey. 

 






 
We came home with a few jars.  I serve it over homemade yogurt and in my no-bake granola bars.  It is also wonderful to use as a facial cleanser!
 


The farm was so beautiful and quiet.
 




 
She was getting a little tired of posing at this point . . . .

 
What a wonderful way to spend a few hours learning about and enjoying the beauty of local real food!

 
 
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School Batch Cooking, Baking, and Freezing

As we all know, the end of August through the beginning of September is often like New Years.  We make resolutions, we get back into family routines, and we get back to "normal" after a hopefully relaxing summer.  By next week, we will have three children in elementary school, one child in preschool, and one VERY active toddler.  As we jump into homework and activities, I think it is important for me to batch cook, bake, and freeze some easy meals and snacks so that I can get healthy food on our table without too much trouble.  So for the last two weeks or so, this is what I have been up to.  I have provided many links to recipes.  In some cases, I link to the e-book where I got the particular recipe. I also have a few posts coming down the line with some new great recipes.  I really hope you find this helpful if you are trying to stock your freezer and pantry!
 
We love this egg casserole.  I can make this on the weekend and reheat it in my toaster oven each morning for a hearty breakfast.  I love it with hot sauce.
 
 
 I make a triple batch of these Freezer Waffles every few weeks.  They also make a great dessert topped with ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream!
 
 
Freezer smoothies make a great breakfast addition or snack.  Serve them frozen, slushy or defrosted.


This Almond Coconut Granola made my kitchen smell like autumn.  We eat is with milk for breakfast, over homemade yogurt, and even over desserts.  The granola is especially tasty over my delicious yogurt parfaits!

 
 
These blueberry lemon muffins have a become a favorite in our house!

 
Instant Oatmeal Cups . . . recipe will be posted soon :)



 Homemade tortillas.  I seriously never want to eat store bought tortillas again!
 

Pioneer Woman's Simple Chili is to die for . . .

 
My famous meatballs . . . at least they are famous in my head.  I will post the recipe soon!
 
 
Chocolate Chip Coconut Granola Bars make a great grab-and-go snack.


Homemade "larabars" for the runners  . . . and toddlers in our house.  I will cut and wrap these individually so they are ready to go before the next cross country meet or 5K.
 

 Refrigerator dill pickles . . . recipe will be posted soon.
 
 
I also stocked up on my favorite homemade mixes including onion soup mix, taco seasoning, garlic lime mix, Italian dressing, and ranch dressing.
 

And to help me get through these crazy mornings - iced coffee!


 What's going on in your kitchen as they days getter shorter and busier?
 
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Freezer Smoothies


We absolutely love smoothies in our house!  They are an easy way to pack in great nutrition, and they are very kid-friendly.

We like a variety of smoothies, but this summer our recent favorites were:
1. Whole apple, frozen banana, strawberry, chia seeds.
2. Strawberry, frozen banana, chia seeds, whole milk plain yogurt with a dash of homemade vanilla.
3.  Peaches or blueberries, frozen banana, chia seeds, and whole milk plain yogurt with a dash of homemade vanilla.

I was able to use a lot of local produce that we picked ourselves or bought from the farmer's market.


I almost always use frozen bananas because they give the smoothies an added creaminess. I buy a lot of bananas when they are on sale. When they get brown, soft, and mushy, I throw them in a Ziplock bag and freeze them. 

I also like to make green smoothies by adding veges like spinach, peas, or carrots.  For the frozen smoothies, I stuck to fruit because I have a feeling they would be a dull gray color after I defrosted them.  I am not sure dull gray smoothies would be attractive to my young kids!


I love these BPA free Ball brand freezer cups.  I use them to make freezer jam and to portion and store grab-and-go snacks. I have seen them at Wal Mart and Target.  They are also the perfect size for freezer smoothies!

Today, I made a triple batch of smoothies and froze them.  As the school year starts, I will pull them out the night before to use for breakfast or snack!

What are your favorite smoothie concoctions?

 
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homemade Citrus Counter Top Spray


Have you ever wanted to make your own homemade cleaning products and save money?  Here is a super simple way to make an all-purpose counter top spray.  When you have leftover citrus rinds (I like a combo of lemon, lime,and oranges), place them in a mason jar and fill with white vinegar.  I had some rinds to use after making my Herbed Lemon Parmesan Pasta.  Let the jars sit on your counter a minimum of three weeks.  I had this batch sitting on my counter for a few months.  The longer the better!

When you are ready to make your spray, run the liquid through a strainer placed over a large bowl.


You can multi-task if you choose.  I made waffles and my spray at the same time :)

Fill a reusable spray bottle halfway with the vinegar solution.  Fill the rest of the bottle with water.
That's it!  A "green" counter top spray using two ingredients you already have in your kitchen!



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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Creating Summer Memories


We have just a few short weeks before school begins.  As we continue to create some great memories this summer, we stopped into our favorite ice cream parlor.  And this place is truly an  ice cream parlor.

 My favorite dessert is the chocolate ice cream soda with vanilla whipped cream!





 I grabbed some candy for the road . . .


 Our little guy tried to grab some but he was caught in the act.

 

How are you savoring these last days of summer?


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