Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (on Sunday!)

This week I've been taking some time to find some new and interesting recipes online. Our meal plan this week is a trip around the world (so to speak!) We're still sticking with whole foods and I'm trying to expose Doug and the kids to new tastes. We'll see how it goes!
We are having a little shake up in our weekly routines...meetings have changed days, we are adding a night class once a week, football season is starting, and between me working during the week and Doug on the weekends, time is going to be a prime commodity around here! So here is my choice of quick and healthy dinners:

Monday: Stir fry chicken and bok choi. My plan is to cook one big batch of chicken this day to use during the week in other meals. It will definitely help on prep time! Will put some black beans on to soak overnight and cook Tuesday morning.

Tuesday: Cheese quesadillas (on homemade whole wheat tortillas) with fiesta rice. I plan to cook a double batch of the fiesta rice to eat for lunches and snacks throughout the week.

Wednesday: Spicy Posole soup with avocado salad.

Thursday: Greek chicken pasta. Will use chicken from earlier in the week and will use whole wheat linguini for the pasta.

Friday: Eggplant parmesan. This recipe uses baked eggplant instead of fried and Bertolli has a very nice organic maranara sauce that I will use.

Saturday: Homemade mac & cheese. Doug has a wedding out of town so it will be just me and the kids. This was a big hit last time I served it!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner. We will ALL be tired by Saturday and a nice comforting meal of eggs and pancakes will sure hit the spot!

My boys in black and white




I was looking to replace some of the pictures in our living room and thought it would be nice to use pictures of the kids from their everyday life. These pics capture just a little bit of who they are...and they make me smile. Better yet, *I* took these pictures and not my fancy, schmancy photographer husband. Not that he wouldn't have taken some beautiful pictures...but you are seeing them through their mother's POV.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A baking secret!


I have been baking bread a long time but just recently discovered this wonderful little secret: vital wheat gluten!
It makes whole grain breads light and fluffy. The texture is just like bread from the store!
Never again will I make whole grain breads that have enough density to use as doorstops! If you're a bread baker, definitely use a little vital gluten in your next whole grain loaf - you'll be amazed at the difference!

Sew-a-palooza!

It's a Saturday sew-a-palooza!
Just finished this apron:

And these tissue holders:

I have been in LOVE with these sweet little dresses for a while. For some strange reason, JP says he won't wear one if I make it (yes, I'm just kidding!) So I was on a mad hunt to find an adult pattern to make one for myself....and I found it! I found a "regency dress" pattern and figured that I'd shorten the length and insert a waistband with a vintage tea towel for an apron. The apron would be part of the dress! Yeah, I know it's all Sense and Sensibility looking....and yeah, I know I'm not Keira Knightly...but this dress is so feminine and romantic that I just can't help myself!
Now I've got to figure out where all of my kids are...it's just a little TOO quiet around here right now!

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain / Palin '08


Ok, so McCain didn't pick Thompson...but I was over it in about half a minute when I started reading what Mrs. Palin was all about. I think she is a FABULOUS choice!
Here is a great article about why Gov. Palin will complement McCain so well:

TOP 10 REASONS McCAIN'S VP SHOULD BE SARAH PALIN

I loved this response comment at the bottom of the article:
If chosen, she will be the next President after McCain, and our country’s first woman President (tough luck, Hillary).

I literally LOL on that one!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My artist in residence


+

=


Not too shabby for visiting the place only ONCE!
Kyle takes everything in and just plain sees things in a different way than the rest of us. He thinks and ponders and disappears to his room for an hour to make wonderful works of art.
My strong, silent athlete has such a beautiful, artistic mind...and I am very thankful for the gifts bestowed on him!


...and to give you some sort of scale, this model of the Astrodome Kyle made fits in the palm of my hand!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nourishing Portable Foods



We are well into our second month of this whole foods venture and I thought I'd jump into the Nourishing Portable Foods Challange over at the Nourishing Gourmet.
The recipe I'm submitting is very simple and versatile. It is one of the best examples of food on the go that I can think of! They can be made savory or sweet, be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and a great way to use up leftovers out of the fridge. They are CALAZONES! Make a double batch of these and put some in the freezer for when you or the kids needs a quick, wholesome snack!


Here is the recipe for the dough:

1.5 tsp of yeast
1T. honey
1C. warm water
1.5 tsp of salt
3C. of flour ( I use half whole wheat and half unbleached all purpose)

Optional: For added flavor, mix in dried herbs, caramelized onions, or chopped olives into your dough.
For added nutrition, add 2T. of ground flax or 1/3 C. of wheat germ into the dough.

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl then turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes.

Make sure your sous chef doesn't sneak into the dough and play with it while you look for a large plastic bowl!

Place your dough into a well oiled bowl and put into your oven (with the light on!) for about an hour until the dough doubles in size.
Turn dough out and divide into six equal pieces. Roll dough pieces into rounds on a well floured surface then place 2-3 tablespoons of your filling inside:
(our filling consists of leftover veggies and black beans)

...and top with cheese!


Wet one edge of the dough with water and fold over. Crimp edges with a fork to seal.


Brush with milk or egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.



It's portable, good, and good for you!



For more great portable nourishing foods, check out the Nourishing Gourmet!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Another week, another menu plan! We are still continuing with our whole foods planning and waiting to plant our fall garden!
Who knows, maybe I'll even cook with some of my funky aprons I made this weekend! (see post below!)

Monday: Black bean tostadas
Tuesday: Veggie omelets
Wednesday: Stuffed cabbage leaves in tomato sauce
Thursday: Grilled veggie pizzas
Friday: Stir fry veggies over brown rice
Saturday: 10 grain pancakes with apple and cinnamon compote and a side of bacon.
Sunday: Roasted chicken and brussells sprouts

A pretty simple menu plan because I have the feeling it's going to be a busy week!

Aprons, aprons, aprons

I took my super funky fabrics and felt inspired to make some aprons! I made two out of the black and turquoise, except instead of the box pleat I made a ruffle on the other one. I'm thinking that I'd like to get a booth at the local Farmer's Market when it opens back up in October and see if these will sell (if they don't, you'll be getting them as gifts for Christmas! LOL!) I really enjoy making them. It's only about an hour for each one. And for me, sewing is like therapy. It's a little bit of an escape and a chance to be creative.
Click on the pictures for a larger view.


I'll have to wait until later this week to sew the other aprons...work calls and I have to get a meal plan together, shopping list, and this week's lesson plans together. So much for a relaxing Sunday evening!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

McCain/Thompson '08!

We are eagerly awaiting to see who McCain will pick as his running mate...in the Creamer household, we are hoping it's Fred Thompson! We saw these videos on YouTube when he was running for president, they are hilarious!



...and now for the super hilarious part II :



In reality, it will probably be Huckabee, but we can dream for now...

For a run-down of potential candidates, check out this list from Right Wing News.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've been bit...

...by the sewing bug!


I found these awesome prints at Hobby Lobby (on sale for 30% off!) and think that I'm going to spend this rainy weekend making some aprons, totes, and boxy pouches.
See you Monday!

Heard at our house today...

I was getting dressed and Danny was in the bathroom with me. As I was putting on my make-up, Danny was asking me what each little container was for.
He handed me the lipstick and says, "What's this for, Mommy?"
Me: "It's lipstick, it makes you pretty!" I put on the lipstick, smack my lips, and ask, "Do I look pretty yet?"
Danny: "Hmm...not yet."

Beauty in Breakfast

Beautiful, rich brown eggs for breakfast.
John Paul wanted "flat eggs" or, as you and I would call them,
fried eggs over easy!

Oh, how I want my own chickens!!! Doug, make that happen!


...and while you're at it, a Jersey cow and milking goat would be nice, too.


...Ummm, I DID bear you four sons..
..and fresh goat cheese would be sooo goood!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The *other* kind of guitar hero

Ryan has such fun playing Guitar Hero that Doug thought he might enjoy learning the real thing! Doug purchased an inexpensive guitar and ordered a DVD course for beginners. Right now he's learning to tune his guitar and seems to really enjoy it.


Plus, Doug told him that chicks dig a dude that can play the guitar!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome precious baby!


My dear niece and her husband welcomed their baby girl to the world today!
Avalea Jo
6 pounds and 2 ounces of pure heaven!

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Congratulations guys! We are so happy for you!

A cool tip!

We usually do our homeschooling at the kitchen table. Little Danny LOVES to be at the table with his big brothers "doing school" as well. Most days he is content drawing, playing with playdough, or manipulatives....
Today was NOT one of those days!


He was driving the kids and me batty with his mess and nonstop jibber-jabber. Most days I can divert his attentions to other, more quiet and creative activities...today was not one of THOSE days! So like any good (and stressed out) mom I thought that Danny would like a little TV time. I pulled out a Barney DVD only to find it scratched and not playable. Kyle told me there were ways to "fix" a scratched DVD so after a quick search online I found this amazing tip:

TOOTHPASTE!


Just put a dab of the stuff on your DVD and rub around in small circles. The abrasive nature of the toothpaste actually buffs the finish on the DVD. Wipe off with a damp towel and dry. It totally worked! The boys got in a solid hour of school work before lunch and it was bliss...


... and I didn't have to throw out a $15 DVD!!!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


This week's menu plan revolves around Nourishing Traditions menus on a budget! I've been put on call so much at work that we're going to have to tighten our belts around here a bit. I sat down and tried to figure up my most inexpensive meals without sacrificing the nutrition and whole foods aspects - I even calculated the cost per serving (yeah, I nerdy that way!) I also plan on making a bit more than just the dinner meal. If we have enough for leftovers the next day it makes my planning more cost efficient!

Monday: Lentil tacos on homemade whole wheat tortillas. Garnish with fresh pico de gallo (all from the garden, thankfully!), lettuce and kefir sour cream (which was already made from this weekend.) Cost per serving is .48!

Tuesday: Grilled burgers. I have a pound of grass fed beef in the freezer, but a pound won't feed my whole bunch so I'm going to mix in brown rice to make that meat stretch! Will garnish with leftover pico de gallo and lettuce from Monday and serve on whole wheat buns (not homemade). Served with baked potato wedges. Cost per serving is 1.50 - sounds expensive, but in reality the whole meal is under eight bucks!

Wednesday: Whole wheat spaghetti with the last of my homemade maranara from the freezer. Will serve with homemade bread and garlic butter. Cost per serving is .35!

Thursday: 15 Bean soup with homemade bread. Cost per serving is .33

Friday: Spinach Frittata with fruit. Cost per serving is .93

Saturday: Homemade pizza. Cost per serving is .87

Sunday: BLAT wraps. BLAT is bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato. Served on homemade whole wheat tortillas with fruit on the side. Cost per serving is .75

For more information on nourishing frugal eating check out these links:

Your Family Could be Eating Organic Food for the Same Price as Processed Foods -- or Less

12 Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic

12 Tips For Squeezing Nutrient Rich Food From Your Dollar

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Keepin' It Real

Hey, nutritious homemade meals don't just fall out of the sky and land on my table you know!

I almost - ALMOST used every dish and appliance in the house making this dinner!



It's night's like these when I think that fish tacos from Los Cucos would have been MUCH easier!
Excuse me while I go sweep up that two inches of flour dust off my floor...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Before and After

BEFORE:


AFTER:


And all I did was soak these in a large plastic bowl with aluminum foil crumpled in the bottom, hot water, and two shakes of baking soda. An hour later I had a new service set for the grand total of two dollars.
I wonder if the original owners knew they would clean up so nicely, would they have sent them away to the thrift store?
Oh well, one man's trash is this woman's treasure!