Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cabbage Stuff and updates!

Well Hi there! Sorry it's been so long since I have written anything! It has been a busy month here! We have been on a mission to eat healthier, not just to lose weight, but to feel better about ourselves.  We have always loved our veggies, but now incorporating them into a main meal instead of an accent! It's working pretty well, if I do say so myself!  So, before I get to the good stuff, some quick updates on our lives!

We are getting a garden together! Finally have a tiller, and will be able to get some planting done!  Also learned about the wood chip method from www.backtoedenfilm.com if your interested you should really watch the movie! I have already made a few calls to some tree companies to get some wood chips, completely excited! Our garden is going to work wonderfully this year! I just know it!

Kids are doing great, they are excited about planting their own little gardens. I mean really, who wouldn't be? I just hope they continue to be excited throughout the gardening season! Kat has really been working hard on her writing and reading lately. She is determined (most of the time) to get through this lump in her education.  Dylan may need glasses! He had an eye exam at a opthamologists, which he passed with flying colors, had one at school and they claim he is nearsighted.  So it's back to the eye doc for another opinion.  Caleb has just blossomed under his amazing teacher! He has opened up a lot more socially, as well as just come alive not only in the classroom, but at home as well! His speech has gotten a lot better, he interacts so much more.  So thankful for his teacher this year! I just dread next year without her!

Ok, now, onto the yummy stuff! I have become a huge fan of farmers market's recently. I have been to both the farmer's markets here in Macon, Ga.  I can honestly say that Mulberry Street Farmers Market (Facebook Page) is the better of the two during the winter months. The farmers (yes, Farmers!!!) were amazing, helpful and some even had recipes! There were meats, veggies, breads, and everything in between.  I can't wait to see how spring produce will be! So, our last trip there We picked up tons of goodies, and thought we would make up a recipe when we came home.  Ended up making what we affectionately call "cabbage stuff" An awesome blend of root veggies and cabbage.  I detailed most of the work for it here.

Doesn't that look fabulous?  So here is the recipe, you can add or delete what you want, but for full effect, you want it all! Note: you want a BIG pan! I use a high sided electric skillet!

Cabbage Stuff

1 head green cabbage 
1 head purple cabbage 
2 sweet onions chopped
2-3 rutabagas peeled and chopped
2 turnips chopped
6 slices of bacon (we use anywhere from 6-9 pieces)

You can also add (if you want)
rutabaga greens roughly chopped
other root veggies

Start off by frying your bacon nice and crisp. While that is frying cut up both types of cabbage into bite size pieces. Once bacon is done remove it to a plate, keeping grease in the pan. Add in all your chopped veggies, coat in bacon grease. Stir well and cover. Cook about 15 minutes stirring occasionally until veggies are nice and tender. Cut up your bacon and add to veggies and enjoy! This is great for a side dish, or even an entire meal.  

This was our dinner one night. Pot roast with white carrots and onions! Very yummy and filling! Let me know if you decide to try it! Hope you enjoyed this post!  Tomorrow there will be another one, maybe even later today!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I just cant get the hang...

of this blogging thing can I? I just don't have the time or the energy to do this every single day.  So we shall settle for whenever I think about it, deal?

With that being said!  I will start off with Thanksgiving!

The day before Thanksgiving I went to my SIL's house to fix the turkey and such. Her and her husband are still considered newlyweds, and Jessica had no experience cooking a Turkey, or a large meal for get togethers. So we had a lot of fun while I was picking the leftover feathers off the turkey. I think the greatest part of the night was when I pulled the neck and giblets out of the inside. She flipped out when I told her what it was. One of my best memories so far!

So, the pinterest menu was a complete hit with everyone, and made so much I ended up with plenty of leftovers. It was well worth it!

I made a great dish with the left over stuffing. My stuffing had plenty of sausage in it, as well as onions and celery. I mixed 8 eggs , 1 cup of cheese, and mixed it all together with the stuffing, then put some Parmesan on top, baked for 30 minutes and it was amazing! The kids had seconds and thirds, and everyone was very very happy!

Fast forward to this past week.

Things have been really tight around here money wise.  I have been stressing out about Christmas, and could not figure out how I would be able to afford anything for the kids. We don't even have a Christmas tree!  I figured I was going to do lots of Christmas related crafts with them to try and decorate our home as festively as possible for the little ones. Then, I get a phone call from the school. A local business wants to adopt a family for the holidays, and we were picked! I talked to them, showed them the Walmart wishlist that I have been working on all year, and then the gentleman I was talking to started to tell me about the Christmas tree they would be bringing.... Holy crap, We get a tree!  A live tree!  I have always had the fake ones, yet always wanted a live tree.  I love the smell, it just screams Christmas to me!  So I am very excited about this Christmas! I have completely gotten in the holiday spirit now, where as before I was just sort of blah about the whole thing!

The first visit from the "Christmas elves" was to bring us Elf on the Shelf! I am sure most of you have heard of the mysterious elf that shows up before Christmas, runs to Santa every night and lets him know if the little ones have been good or bad that day! Mind you he also likes to get himself into precarious positions, and lots of messes! The first morning we set him up the kids went running around the house to try and find him! They were so excited when they saw him hanging from the microwave cart! I woke to screams "We found him, we found him!" It was great to hear the kids laughing and trying to figure out what the little elf they named "Happy" was up to! I will be posting pictures of things our wonderful little elf has been getting himself into!

A few weeks ago my children's Nana ran over our little dachhound "Scrappy".  It tore my 5 year olds little heart up knowing that his best friend was gone.  We had a long talk about where he went after he died.  The problem was, he started acting out tremendously. I knew I had to do something. Things were getting pretty bad. He was biting and hitting, and nothing I was doing was working.  So I thought maybe, if we got a new pet, things would calm down a bit.  Craigslist to the rescue! We ended up getting a rat. A beautiful dumbo eared rat Kathryn named Whiskers.
Whiskers is a sweetheart! He is 10 weeks old and very very smart! He likes pretzels, but his favorite is carrots! He is very social, and loves to be held.  The most amazing thing happened.  The day after we got him all the kids went to school. Caleb comes home, runs into the dining room where Whiskers lives in his tank, pulls up a chair, and sits there, for HOURS.  My autistic, ADHD son sat for HOURS watching this little rat.  It amazed me! Such a huge difference from his temper tantrums after Scrappy died.  I am so glad that I made the right move on this. Things have been so much better since Whiskers came into our home and wiggled into our hearts!

Well, off to decorate the house in funky Christmas decorations!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Pinterest Thanksgiving!

So I decided that most of the items on my Thanksgiving list are going to be made from recipes I have seen on Pinterest! I am really excited about this!  I would say that I am going to be doing step by step pictures... But then again, I probably wont. So I am just going to post the recipes and let you all decide!

Thanksgiving Menu

Turkey -- Crocpot
corn Casserole
Sweet potato pecan casserole
Bacon Wrapped Green bean Bundles
Cheesy Onion Casserole
Turnip Greens in crocpot
Savory Glazed Carrots
Cranberry sauce
7up biscuits
Jim N Nicks Biscuits
Deviled Eggs

Corn Casserole
Via Pinterest on Pennies on a Platter's website

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (8 oz) package Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9- by 9-inch baking or a 2 quart casserole dish.

Mix together the corn, Jiffy, sour cream and butter in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If baking in a 9x13, the texture will be different than baking in the 2 quart casserole. The 9x13 will be thin slices where the 2 quart casserole produces more of a corn pudding. Either way is delicious.

Sweet Potato Casserole
via Pinterest at askchef's message board

4 cups sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles
(My recipe)

4 (15-oz.) cans of whole green beans ~ not “cut”, not “french-style”
bacon strips, cut in half (I use my kitchen scissors.)
1 cup melted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Gather 10 beans into a bundle.  Wrap bacon around beans and secure with a toothpick.  Arrange in a 9×13 pan.
Combine melted butter, brown sugar, garlic salt, and soy sauce in a bowl.  Mix well.  Pour over beans.
Chill overnight or for several hours.  Bake at 375° for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until bacon is cooked.

Cheesy Onion Casserole
Via Pinterest at Instuctable's

2-3 Tbs butter or margarine
3 large sweet onions or 4 medium white or yellow onions
2 c. shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz.)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted**
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
8 or so slices of French bread

**You can substitute cream of mushroom soup for cream of chicken to make vegetarian.

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat, and add onions. Saute onions until clear, a little brown is ok. In a shallow 2 qt. casserole pan, layer onions, 2/3 of cheese and pepper to taste.

In a sauce pan, heat soup, milk, and soy sauce, stirring to blend. Pour soup mixture in a casserole and stir gently to mix. Top with bread slices. Bake at 350 uncovered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, top of bread should be nice and toasted.

Push bread slices under the sauce and top with the remaining cheese.
Place casserole back in oven and finish baking for 15 more minutes. 

Total prep time: 20 minutes.
Total baking time: 30 minutes. 

Turnip Greens in Crocpot

1 smoked ham hock
4 -6 slices thick bacon (optional)
8 cups collard greens, tough ribs and stems removed, torn into thin strips              (kale may also be used)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water
Serve With
1/2 cup minced mild onion (optional)
red wine vinegar (amount to taste) (optional)
hot pepper sauce             (I like Tabasco, amount to taste) (optional)

Note: be sure to rinse collards thoroughly before using.
Remove any thick stems and tear or chop leaves into strips.
Cook bacon in a skillet until the fat renders and bacon becomes translucent.
Place bacon, with its drippings, into the bottom of the crock pot.
Add the greens, ham hock, salt, pepper, and water into crock pot.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
Remove ham hock, discard skin and shred meat, returning meat to crock pot.
Serve greens with minced onion, vinegar and Tabasco, if desired.

Savory Glazed Carrots
Via Pineterest on Deep South Dish's website

2 pounds of carrots
2 cups of beef stock or broth
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2-1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
3-4 turns of the pepper grinder
Salt, to taste
Fresh or dried parsley, optional

Peel, quarter and cut the carrots into 2-inch strips. In a large heavy bottomed pot, bring the stock up to a boil, adding in the butter, sugar and pepper. Add the carrots and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until carrots are tender and liquid has reduced to a thick glaze.

Taste and add salt as needed. Sprinkle with parsley before serving, if desired.

7Up Biscuits
Found via Pinterest on Plain Chicken's Website

from Plain Chicken
Printable Recipe
2 C Bisquick
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C 7-up
1/4 C melted butter
Add sour cream into Bisquik and mix together, add 7 Up.  The dough will be very soft. Sprinkle additional Bisquick onto the counter and gently pat the dough out to desired thickness (about 1 inch)  Use the bottom of a glass or a biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits.    Place melted butter into 9 x 9 pan.  Bake in a 450 oven until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. (Double recipe)

Just like Jim N Nicks Biscuits
Found Via Pinterest on Plain Chicken's Website
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbps sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425.  Stir together all ingredients just until combined.  Scoop into a mini muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden.  **I used a medium cookie scoop and got 20 muffins**

Deviled Eggs
(My Recipe)

20 hard boiled eggs 
1/4 to 1/2 cup of miracle whip
1 avacado mashed
1-2 squirts of mustard
salt and pepper to taste
tiny bit of lemon juice

cut eggs in half, combine yellows and miracle whip, avacado, mustard, salt & pepper and lemon juice. mix well. fill eggs, and eat!

So thats pretty much it! Well, that's the plan anyway. But things have been known to change pretty frequently around here!  Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Do-it-yourself Dish Soap

I was pretty bored today with the kids being over at their dads and I was running out of dish soap...  Since this week I am going to be doing a lot of DIY type stuff - like laundry detergent, and I need to make some new cleaner...  I figured, why not try to make some Dish soap as well...  So... that is exactly what I did.

Following the recipe was the easy part. It didnt turn out the way I wanted it to... most likely because I used the wrong stuff... But I was able to fix my mistake, and I am actually pretty happy with the results! 

You will need: a large pot, Arm&Hammer washing powder (not baking powder!) a half a bar of grated ivory soap, 2 qts warm water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, essential oil (I used lavender  and food coloring (optional) 

Pour the 2 quarts of water into the pot, adding 1 cup washing powder, 1 tablespoon glycerin, 1/2 bar of grated ivory soap and white vinegar, bring to a slow boil. 
You want everything to become all nicely melted and the water will be mostly clear.  Remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then add in 7 drops essential oil and your food coloring of choice (I used purple).

Let sit for an hour or so.  You will start to see a film on top, stir it every 20 minutes or so.  Pour into a 2 qt jug (I used a V8 jug!) You will see some solids in there, dont worry about it. Shake it every once in awhile. It will get thicker and thicker as time goes on!
The cooler it becomes the more it thickens.  

I spilled a little on my hands, and I love the feel of it.  My hands are smoother.. Not dry like most soaps will do!  It's not completely cooled. But I had fun making it! Definitely plan on doing this more often.  Also hoping that it sets right, but we will see for sure in a few days! Once its completely done I will take pictures and begin the next batch and actually show you all the pictures :) until then, have fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ADHD, Asthma and Autism, OH MY!

When my mother told me that my kids would pay me back for all the bad things I did when I was a kid, I laughed. Okay, not entirely true.  I sat down and thought "hmm, I wasn't really a bad kid!" (Until I hit the teenage years that is, but they still have no idea about that, so it doesn't count, right?) It's not that my kids are bad, but over the past several months it seems I have become a circus performer, jumping through countless hoops to get through just the day! Here is the update that is much needed!

Kathryn has been a "normal" 6 almost 7 year old.  Homework has become one more daily chore piled onto my already overwhelming list. For crying out loud seriously, who is in school here, me or her? It's a fight to see who has more stamina, who can sit there and cry, scream, yell the loudest, just to give in.  I can only do so much, right?

Dylan is his typical mischievous self.  He instigates almost all the fights between his brother and sister. Blames everyone else. Everyone sees him as this perfectly sweet, innocent little boy, who never does anything wrong.  I saw through that facade a long time ago. Dylan has 2 settings, Big Helper: Does his chores, even without being asked, homework done and then some. Andddd then there is Little Devil: fights everything I say, instigates everything, battles are usually lost with him standing in the corner. The weather is getting cooler, which means It is asthma season... I am dreading this.  I know a severe lack of sleep is on the way.  Luckily, I am stocked up on medicine and coffee.  For both of us.

Caleb.. He is the reason I have jumped through more hoops than a circus clown.  If you have ever had to have a child placed into the special needs program in school, then you know completely what I am talking about. I have battled (imagine suiting up in full chain and platemail armor and you know what I am getting at) with school boards, psychologists  school counselors  bus drivers (seriously, if you have an autistic child yourself, you should know and understand how he reacts to a big huge bus with lots of kids! HELLO! DUH!) doctors, nurses, and teachers (although his teacher is FRIGGEN AMAZING!) Seriously, His teacher is the best thing that has happened to me since sliced bread.  She completely understands his needs, and she helps us so much! If it wasn't for her I am pretty sure I would not have pushed so hard to get him on the special needs. It took 4 months to get my son onto an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) It has been a very rough and trying road.  But we finally did it!  Caleb is doing better than ever, and I couldn't be happier!

Overall, the kids have been doing very well. Every once in awhile I have one of those moments that I am on the right track, where I feel that everything is right in the world and I am not a complete failure.  But then, something shatters my bubble of perfection.  The whole single mom thing is not easy by any means.  But oddly enough, it is easier to deal with the kids without my ex around.  More and more I feel like myself, and not some screwed up carbon copy that was messed up in the presses.

When I found the second lump in my breast, I had to swallow a huge measure of pride. I already knew what the outcome would be when the doctor examined me but I chose to wait anyway. Needless to say it didn't disappear, but grew. Once again I went under the knife and had the damn thing removed. Stay gone this time!!!  I do not want to be a lumpy, pincushion that the doctor gets to use! (Although I must say I absolutely LOVE Dr Lisa Farmer! She is awesome, laid back and has great bedside manner!) My breast is still a bit tender, but hopefully that will disappear soon.

Kids birthdays are literally right around the corner. Dylans is exactly one week away, with Kathryns and Calebs right behind it.  I don't have anything to give them, which makes me feel awful. I guess it also makes me feel awful that I am doing this birthday party in hopes that kids bring gifts to them, to make up for the fact that I can't afford to get them anything.  *Please don't let the other parents be stingy!!!*

Well, thats about it, so much has happened since my last post, and I am really trying to get back into writing- hopefully that will help me get out some of my frustration in the world around me.  Either that or maybe I should find an abandoned building and start smashing windows...  either or could be satisfying...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Dinner... Ever....

I sat there today, debating on what on earth to cook. I was frustrated because I forgot to take out something last night, and I didn't want to wait several hours to cook.  My eyes rested on the bag of Whiting...  Well, it is Just me and the kids.  So... I went online and typed in Whiting recipes...  Many came up...  The one I decided on making though... I ended up changing completely!!! I had decided to make Whiting with Garlic and Lemon. My biggest thing is I HATE frying food. Any kind of food.  So, I decided to bake it, using bread crumbs.

First I took the fish and soaked it with Worcestershire sauce, then dipped it into the bread crumbs, making sure they are fully coated.

 Lay skin side down on baking sheet sprayed with olive oil spray.

Put the fish in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. When they come out, they should look similar to this.

Then make your sauce.  I have to say I completely went away from the recipe with the sauce.  I took garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and combined it with some hollandaise sauce.  The sauce came out perfectly!  The end result...  was absolutly amazing!  The fish had a beautifully smoky flavor to it, and it was fabulous! The kids even had no complaints.  I also made cheesy garlic mashed potatoes and buttered french style beans (yes, with Garlic!)  I am a garlic fiend, it's okay. I admit it.  So sue me.  Anyway, here is the final picture!  It turned out fabulous!

Garlic Lemon Whiting
6-8 Whiting filets
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (give or take)
Worcestershire sauce

Coat fish in Worcestershire sauce, coat both sides with bread crumbs. Put in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes turning over halfway through baking time. Meanwhile make the sauce.

1 pkg Hollandaise sauce
5 garlic cloves, mashed and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup 100% lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Make Hollandaise sauce as stated on the pkg. Add in remaining ingredients. Allow to come to a boil stirring CONSTANTLY! Otherwise it will clump up. Continue stirring until thick remove from heat, stir one more minute. Plate fish and whatever other sides you have, place sauce over fish! (Sauce would be great over steamed mixed veggies too!)

No complaints from this family!!! I was worried that the sauce wouldn't come out right, but I am so glad that I went with my instincts! A perfectly yummy meal!!!

Remember that Vinegar and Orange cleaner I made not long ago? Well, it works wonderfully! Smells great, and it cleans like a dream! I don't have to worry about the kids breathing in toxic fumes when they do their chores. A win/win for me! Not to mention the cost is perfect for my budget!  If you can't remember how to make it, it is simple:
1 mason jar (I used old spaghetti sauce jars)
fill it up with orange rinds (from the kids lunch)
add vinegar until it is full
put the lid on, and let it sit for at least 10 days. Mine sat for 2 weeks and smells divine!

Have a great week, Happy Cooking and parenting everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rice Krispy Treats and a touch of Nutella... Awesome!

So I have been promising the kids for awhile now that I would make Rice Krispy Treats. Tonight was the night! I made them from an easy easy recipe from the back of the marshmellows bag, but once the kids finished pressing the treats into the 9x13 pan... my gaze drifted lazily over to my pantry. I kid you not I swear the Nutella lit up. The gears started turning. Hmmm, Nutella Rice Krispy treats... Now that sounds awesome! At first I was going to do a thin layer over the top, but then I thought how much fun it would be if we just did swirly designs with a spoon. So thats exactly what we did. I must say, it turned out great!  So here is a picture to get you salivating.

Now go make your own... These are mine...(and the kids since I HAVE to share.) Another post to come later!

By the way, I am in a cooking mood...  hehe Beware!!!