Monday, March 31, 2014

Baseball mamas around the world, REJOICE!

I have discovered a way to get white baseball pants white again!
The secret is in this cheap (as in less than a dollar) bar of soap 
you can find in the laundry aisle:

ZOTE


Just grate a bit of it into a bowl, put about a tablespoon on the stain with a little hot water and scrub until the soap dissolves.  I also sprayed a bit of Oxy Clean on the stain before throwing these pants in the wash with the leftover bits of Zote.


It not only works on that lovely ground in orange clay, 
but grass stains too!  
In less than a minute of scrubbing, 
the stains were GONE!


Now my boys can show up to the ball field looking clean and neat. 
And I can show up to the ball field not looking like a bad mother!


Kyle was disappointed that his pants were a little too clean. 
 He told me, "Mom, you don't want to be the guy 
with the cleanest pants on the team!"

Friday, March 28, 2014

Meatless Fridays


I am adapting a meal we had earlier in the week for this week's Meatless Friday post.  Yesterday we had crockpot lasagna made with meat sauce, but you can easily leave the meat out or fortify this recipe with chopped spinach.  
Had we not already had this meal this week, I would have made the meatless version today. But we have baseball games into the late evening, which means that we'll probably be having ball park nachos for dinner instead!

Crockpot Lasagna



Ingredients:
1 box of lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 jars of marinara, or homemade sauce.
1 large container of cottage cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
 ground beef or italian sausage cooked and drained, 
OR frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained.
Italian herbs and spices to your taste

Ladle (meat) sauce in the bottom of your crockpot and place the uncooked noodles on top.  Combine eggs and cottage cheese (and spinach if going meatless), season to taste, and spread 1/3 of mixture over the noodles.  Top with 1/3 of the cheese and repeat the layers.


Cook on low for 4 hours 
and enjoy with some good garlic bread and a salad!  
So easy and really good!



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weigh in Wednesday ~ T-Tapp

I've been walking for several months now and have even completed TWO 5ks.

So clearly I'm a phenomenal athlete.

I wanted to boost my workouts but have no money for a gym membership or fancy home equipment.  I'm also a busy homeschooling, working outside the home, mother of five with little time on my hands.  Oh, and did I mention that I have chronic back pain from 20+ years of being a nurse?

It leaves me with little options.
Or so I thought.

Until I discovered T-Tapp.

T-Tapp is simple and simply amazing!
It is an in home DVD program that requires only 15 minutes a day.  There is no jumping, no bouncing, no jarring movements to the joints.  It focuses on strengthening your core and spinal alignment to build long, lean muscle mass.  
It is healing and rehabilitative...and I LOVE IT!

I have gone down two sizes in 30 days, just sayin'.






With T-Tapp, "less is more" and I'm totally down with that!

Linking this post to 

Because it's all about accountability
and working towards my goal of running a 5K one day
instead of walking!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The chunky baby blanket

Within the last year, so many of our friends have had babies...
LOTS of babies!
This is my "go to" gift for all of them, 
a super chunky, super soft crocheted blanket.


This blanket works up really fast!
All you need is the largest size crochet hook (size Q) 
and three coordinating colors of yarn 
(about two large skeins of each color).

Start by making a simple chain of about 34" 
and then single crochet back through your chain.


When you get to the end of the chain, 
turn your work and chain one, 
then begin your single crochet stitch into the second
chain, work to the end of the row and repeat!


For any crochet beginners out there wanting to give this a try and are looking for some visual assistance with single crochet, I recommend trying YouTube. There are some very helpful crochet videos out there! Just search “single crochet” and follow along.


The only thing better than this chunky baby blanket
 is a chunky baby wrapped up in this blanket!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meatless Fridays

Last Friday we had a family fish fry, and it was really good!
The kids huddled around the deep fryer and were snapping up french fries and hush puppies as quick as Doug could cook them.  
I think we'll do these more often, not just during Lent.
  
This week's Meatless Friday post is all about  
FRIED CATFISH


You'll need:
4 pounds fillet catfish, cut into 2" pieces 
1 1/2 cups cornmeal 
1 cup flour 
2-3 tablespoons Cajun spice 
Peanut oil for deep frying 
You can soak the catfish in beer or buttermilk 
for 30-60 minutes before cooking, but it's not necessary.
 Preheat oil in deep fryer or skillet. 
In large plastic bag, combine cornmeal, flour, 
and Cajun spice, mixing well. 
Add fish and toss until fish is well coated. 
When oil has reached the proper temperature (375 degrees), 
add 6-8 pieces of fish at a time. 
Cook for 3-4 minutes until a deep golden brown.


Happy first day of spring!

 Hydrangea

 Amaryllis

 Radish with a photo bomb from cilantro!

Purple bell peppers

Get out there and plant SOMETHING!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekending


It was a busy weekend for the Creamer clan!
We started things off with a birthday celebration 
for Doug's dad (a.k.a. "PoPo").


We had a fish fry since it was Friday and  Doug did the cooking.
Fried catfish, french fries, hush puppies, and coleslaw.
And if that wasn't enough carbs and fat for everybody,
we finished the meal with a brownie bottom ice cream cake covered in crushed salted peanuts and chocolate!


 Then Mary Grace went around sampling everyone's desert after finishing her own and wishing THEM a happy birthday.

I got up at ridiculous o'clock Saturday morning 
for a 5k run at Lake Texana.

As you can see, it was a glorious sunny day...NOT.

It was foggy and rainy, but at least it was cool 
and the scenery was lovely.


I had an awesome walking partner.
So awesome, that we ended up walking 4.5 miles instead of 3!
(That's what you get for following the skinny people ahead of you!)
I think we should have gotten some kind of extra special medal for THAT.


We got passed up by a very pregnant woman 
and four old ladies...
but hey,
WE FINISHED!

(Six months ago I could even walk one mile read about it HERE.)

After the race, I literally raced back to town to see our Danny 
in the Little League opening ceremonies.


After introducing the teams, and each player individually, they auction off a cake for the team.
Some of these cakes went for as high as $500!


Baseball is a pretty big deal here in Wharton!

After a quick lunch, we headed to the ball park 
for Dan's first game.
He was so excited!


 And then it began to rain...AGAIN!
It wasn't until the 5th inning until they finally called the game.

We were all soaking wet and chilled to the bone but I called first in the shower and was in bed before 7pm!

And no, I have no shame in that!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Meatless Fridays

I'm posting our menu from last Friday for this week's 
Meatless Fridays.

 For breakfast we had pumpkin pie baked oatmeal.
Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
15 ounces of pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups) 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
2 large eggs 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1 1/2 cups milk 
1/2 cup vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt (optional) 
2 1/2 cups dry old fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Then whisk in the milk and yogurt. Stir the dry oats into the pumpkin mixture. Coat an 8×8 (or similar sized) baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour the pumpkin oat mixture into the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, removing the foil after the first 30 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with milk, maple syrup, raisins, or whipped cream.

For lunch, we had simple grilled cheese sandwiches 
kicked up a notch with candied jalapenos!
These jalapenos are great on EVERYTHING!

Candied Jalapenos
Empty the liquid from a jar and pour jalapenos into a bowl. Add sugar (about 3/4 to 1 cup per 16 oz. jar) and stir to combine. Spoon jalapeno and sugar back into jar. Put the lid on tight and place them on your counter. The sugar will dissolve and turn to liquid. You will want to turn the jar upside down once or twice and shake it up every now and then to make sure it all dissolves. That’s it! You’ll find you love these so much you want to make a larger jar! {Costco sells 1 gallon jars!} Just keep the same sugar ratio- but a little more/less works fine!

For dinner we had these :
Black Bean Sliders
3 1/2 c. black beans, cooked, rinsed, drained
 (canned black beans work perfectly fine here) 
1 c. red onion, diced 
1 c. zucchini, grated 
2 tbsp. garlic, ground 
2 large eggs 
1 c. bread crumbs or Panko 
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. cumin, ground 
1 tbsp. Sirracha (optional) 
olive oil 
slider buns 
 Preheat oven to 375°. Place the beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, black pepper, cumin and Sirracha. Once you have a homogenous mixture, fold in the red onion and zucchini. Again using your hands, form slider-sized patties and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 8 sliders to a sheet. Drizzle the patties lightly with olive oil and bake for approximately 24 minutes, flipping the sliders halfway through. Remove cooked sliders, assemble with buns and toppings.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Meatless Fridays

I thought it would be fun to bring 'Meatless Fridays' back to the blog for these 40 days of Lent. I haven't done these in a while so if you'd like to check out additional recipes, click the 'Meatless Fridays' tab in the cloud to the left. 
 Let's get started!

 We started off our morning with banana bread. 
 This is my simple go-to recipe that my kids love. You can substitute 1/3 cup wheat flour instead of white or add ground flax seed and wheat germ to boost nutrition. 

 Breakfast Banana Bread: 
 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed 
1/3 cup melted butter 
1 cup sugar  
1 egg, beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
Pinch of salt 
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans-optional)  

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Add nuts if desired. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan or muffin tin. Bake for 50 minutes for the loaf, or 22-25 minutes for the muffins. Cool on a rack. 

 For lunch, the kids made their own mac and cheese. 
 This version is so much better (and easier) than the stuff from the blue box. 

 Mac and Cheese in a Mug: 
 In a mug or small bowl, mix together 
1/3 cup pasta and 3/4 cup water. 
Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, cook 3 more min. 
Stir in 1/3 cup shredded cheese add splash or two of milk and stir. You may need to cook an additional 30 seconds to thoroughly melt the cheese.  

For dinner we had ooey, gooey Spinach Enchiladas

 Spinach Enchiladas: 
 10-12 tortillas 
 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well 
 6 green onions, chopped, divided 
 1 cup ricotta cheese 
 1/2 cup sour cream 
 Salt and pepper, to taste 
 8 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded, divided 
 10 ounce can green enchilada sauce 

 In a medium bowl, mix the spinach, 3 green onions, ricotta and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in half of the Monterey jack; blend well. Divide the filling mixture among the tortillas. Spread the filling down slightly off center of each one, then roll up. Place seam-side down in a greased 9x13" baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 375ยบ 20 minutes, or until hot, bubbly and slightly browned. Sprinkle the remaining green onions over the top.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Curse you, Polar Vortex!

This past weekend it was 80 degrees. 
This morning we wake up to frozen precipitation. 
I know we don't have anything on you folks up north, 
but this is a BIG deal in south Texas!

Everything is FROZEN!  
I sure hope my Meyer lemon tree can come back from this 
(as well as all the new growth from the bulbs I planted and tender shoots from the roses that were just pruned!)

Luckily, I moved my seedlings inside before the cold hit.
  

Curse you, Polar Vortex, for ruining my gardening plans!
I think I'll wait until April 1st to plant anything else,
that way if mother nature decides to punk me,
it will be legit!

While you're staying warm inside,
have a cup of hot coffee and listen to 
Jimmy Fallon and Idina Menzel 
sing "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen"
and I dare 'ya not to sing along!