Category Archives: Kitchen Tuesdays

Gardening Time Already!

So, after Christmas I decided to check out my gardening chart (best thing ever!) and apparently its time to start getting the garden ready for veggies! Ah! So, we headed outside today to do some tillin’. Nothing better than hands on learning to count for science! We saw earthworms and these funny looking beige millipede worms with pinchers on their butts. Not sure if they were millipedes or not…

It’s nice to have boys who don’t mind getting in the dirt! Ethan said, “I can till it Mom! I like working in the garden. I wanna be a gardener one day.” Caleb was just happy I let him get dirty.

And we had a supervisor~

Until she found the prickly stuff nearby.

The plan is to add a few more bags of organic soil from the nearby feed store, and then I want to put some twine out to mark some squares so I can try my hand at square gardening. I hear you can produce a lot more!

Since I want to also to focus on canning this year, I only plan to plant:

carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, and maybe one fruit for my large planter on the patio

Update on the coop: It still looks the same as last time. I still want to get the chickens in the spring, but there are some decisions up in the air about timing on looking for a new house and such, and since this is a rental property, I’d hate to get the chickens and make a mess of part of the yard, only to start looking for a new place at the end of the year. BUT, we aren’t sure about anything yet, so I’ll keep you posted!

And for the grandparents that read this, Jovie’s new favorite thing is to grab her right foot. lol

Also, I have found it easier not to plan all my kitchen time on Tuesdays, so I’ll keep posting what I do in the kitchen, but it won’t just be on Tuesdays.  Ha! I may just change that link to Kitchen Happenings.

Tis the Season…

for colds. Yuck. I haven’t posted in a while since we’ve had the sickies here, a nasty cold bug that my oldest brought home and shared. But we’ve almost kicked it out!

I did take some pics of our happenings on Kitchen Tuesday. Since we were sick, I made some homemade chicken soup. Yum. Homemade chicken soup is soooooo much better than the store bought kind. And I made a huge pot so we’re still eating from it!

I never follow recipes exactly but here’s an approx. of what I did:

I put 5 chicken legs ,                                                                                                                            1 box or around 4 cups of organic chicken broth,                                                          about 2 cups of chopped carrots,                                                                                                 a teaspoon of basil,                                                                                                                               a teaspoon of oregano,                                                                                                                        and a sprinkling of celery salt                                                                                                        into my crock pot and let it cook on low for at least 5-6 hours.                                  Then I removed the bones and skin from the pot.                                                                 I cooked a whole box (16oz) of penne pasta separately in vegetable broth and then added all of it to the soup. I added salt and pepper to taste and then added fresh lemon juice. We LOVE lemon in this house and it gives the soup a nice kick.

Any kind of meat works but we prefer dark meat in the soup. And I sometimes add about a cup of chopped celery but my son doesn’t like it so I alternate when I add it. Also, for leftover I add a little more broth because the pasta really soaks it up. Oh! and garlic is always a nice addition. (See. I don’t follow recipes well.)

Since this wasn’t ready until dinner, I heated up some frozen black bean soup for lunch. SO glad I’m starting to freeze batches of foods for days like this!

I also made homemade laundry soap for the first time! (I know, its not kitchen-y but I was really excited to do it!)

I followed what this gal did on her blog….http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-laundry-soap.html

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax, found in the detergent isle

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, found in the cooking isle

1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz, found in the detergent isle

3 bars of Fels-naptha soap, found in the detergent isle

2 small containers of oxyclean or store brand oxyclean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total) found in the detergent isle. (this is optional)

You basically shred the soap and add it all together. It makes A TON of soap, but my only concern is that the Fels-Naptha soap seems to have quite a bit of perfume in it. I think after this batch I’ll try to find a different kind of soap to add. The worst part was shredding the bars of soap but I finally got a new shredder (woohoo!) which made my job easier. This one has a nice container

that attaches at the bottom with measurement markings!

And I scored 3 free food grade buckets from the bakery at Tom Thumb so I was able to store it in that. These will be great for when I start storing bulk foods, like beans and such! Just hit up any bakery dept and ask if they have any unwanted sugar or icing buckets! The lady on the blog said that her soap lasted about 9 months using a TBS per load so I’m excited to see how long this lasts. The soap filled about half the bucket, I believe.

And for kicks, I’m showing off my snazzy new salt and pepper shakers that were given to my husband by a coworker who visited Mexico recently. I love them.

Hope your day is full of blessings and productivity! I should probably get out of my jammies now to try and make that happen.

Time to be Real

This has been one of those weeks! You know, those kind. The ones where you throw everything to the wind and just go forward one step at a time. We’ve hardly eaten any dinners I had planned on my menu for this week, my kids have watched too much TV, I’ve bought fast food one too many times, and I have laundry and unfinished projects scattered around me. Not exactly what I had planned. I would have rather said, “We ate from home for every meal, I stayed caught up on all my chores, we never turned the TV on, we’ve been homeschooling every day with extra Thanksgiving projects thrown in, and I rescued a stray dog!” Yeah, nope. But, that’s life and I’m ok with it.

I didn’t do anything for Kitchen Tuesday today either, but mainly because we ventured out for a playdate this morning. And the kids had fun so it was worth it 🙂 All I have done is pull out the homemade pizza dough from the freezer (yay for freezing food for later!) and mixed up a jar of iced fruit water. I cut up an apple, a pear, and some lemon and threw it together in hopes that my kids will be excited about a ‘new’ kind of water. They drink water really well already, but there are times when they start asking for juice so I’m hoping this will help! I found the idea on pinterest, of course.

Check this blog out for cool flavored iced water ideas, http://nancycreative.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/feast-your-eyes-on-flavored-water/.

And to stay updated, here is the progress on the chicken coop!

Hubby has been working so hard for me!! Hopefully it will only take another day of work before its finished, minus the painting. That will be MY part.

And here is the new project I acquired in the last week.

Its a TRUNK! And I scored it at my thrift shop for $10! I’m hoping to get it sanded before the end of the weekend and then get some paint and new hardware for the front.

So, even with things not going as planned, they’re still going. And I have faces like this to look at everyday. *sigh*

And now I’m off to tackle the laundry that’s staring me down.

 

Kitchen Tuesday!

We almost didn’t have a Kitchen Tuesday here, folks. Caleb dropped a hammer on his toe this morning while the 2 month old was holding a huge cryfest. And both thought the end of the world had come…..and I’m pretty sure I did, too.

But, thankfully, things simmered down some so I was able to get a few things done in the kitchen.

First up, I made pizza dough! I found a recipe for it over at http://frugalandsimple.com/2011/01/04/pizza-crust/ and hubby really likes it! Yes, it is white flour. The man still likes his white flour sometimes and who am I to refuse him? 🙂

I froze the dough so that when we are ready for pizza night, its already there! It freezes well.

Next, I grated some cheese…

Sounds exciting, right?! But, I bought some in bulk at Costco and instead of buying the shredded kind which is usually coated in cellulose or potato starch, I figured I’d shred it myself and keep it in a baggie. It took me only a few minutes to do this.

Note to self:   Buy a new grater. Soon.

I’ve heard good things about this one from IKEA…and its only $5.

While I made the boys lunch, I took a few minutes to tidy up the pantry and throw out some old items that I wasn’t using. We are not totally crunchy here yet (baby steps folks) hence the chips and Nutella and such…..Mmmmmm…Nutella. I’v recently discovered (thanks to Pinterest) that it makes THE BEST hot chocolate and you can also mix a cup of plain yogurt with about 1/2 cup of Nutella for some yummy fruit dip!

I was suckered into that red bag of caramel popcorn by the Boy Scout that came to the door.

And looking at this now, I need to throw out that microwave popcorn since I put our microwave in the garage about 2 weeks ago! We’ve been living fine without it, and I now have more counter space!

Next shelves…That last one is mainly pitchers, utensils and such.

The last thing I did was to make some bread crumbs. I made 2 loaves of homemade bread a few days ago and it tasted awful! Waaaaay too yeasty tasting. It was like eating solid beer. Blech! I have no idea what happened to it, so if you do, please fill me in.

I didn’t want to waste the bread so into the food processor it went! I made one bag of regular crumbs and threw some Italian seasoning in another bag for some seasoned crumbs.

I put both bags in the freezer. And that was that!

Now just be glad I didn’t show you the sinks full of dishes I was trying to avoid while getting something done for my Kitchen Tuesday. It wasn’t pretty.

Not-So Kitchen Tuesday

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m trying to designate some time on Tuesdays to cooking and stocking up on items that I plan to make from scratch often – things like bread, yogurt, granola, etc.

Today was not like that.

After school time and picking up, I really wanted to do some research and pricing things for bulk ordering. I am going through flour, honey, oats and other things like crazy and I know there’s a better way to buy it, but I haven’t figured out what will work best for me yet. So this is what I did instead of cooking…

I spent some time looking through Azure Standard’s catalog and scrolling through Vitacost online.

I’ve heard good things about Azure Standard

and they seem to have good pricing for organic produce, but I’m still a newbie and not sure what I would do with 20lbs of organic apples and other produce items! We do eat a lot of apples but man, I’d be making lots of applesauce I think with 20lbs worth. And you need a $50 minimum order unless you want some added handling fees. So, how do you handle so much produce? Any tips? Would dividing with someone else be the best way? And would my portion last a whole month?

I did a little looking at Vitacost

but other than spices and vitamins, I haven’t found many deals yet. But, I didn’t get to look very long so I plan to do more searching. Their prices on flour and apple cider vinegar seem to be comparable to Sprouts.

The next step is to do some online searching for some local food coops that I might not know about. I know of one lady who buys from the downtown Farmer’s Market and then sells bags of produce for $6 I think, from her home on Wednesdays, but I’ve yet to call her and I don’t know if its organic produce.

So today was a sorta not really maybe a little Kitchen Tuesday. Anyone wanna come make bread for me?  :o)

Updated, and its Kitchen Tuesday!

Thanks for the comments ladies (and hubby ;o) )! I decided to go ahead and tackle some of the immediate homeschool organization issues. We moved one bookcase into the dining room and I can keep all of our current stuff and my books there! It was the cheapest and quickest way to fix it, and I really like how it separates the dining room off from the kitchen a little bit.  For those that don’t know, our house is small. No more than 1090 sq.ft. so every space counts, lol!

This led to also changing the living room set up and restructuring, but thankfully my boys still have their bookshelf in the living room and a nice little reading space behind the couch.

I suppose I’ll get to the boys closet someday…but not today, because today is KITCHEN DAY!! I’m so excited to have a day set aside for cooking and preparing food! I know, I know, check back with me in about a month or two and it might be different. But TODAY I’m giddy! Here are the projects that have been going on…

Homemade Dinner Rolls! This will make a nice addition to tonight’s roast and they tasted wonderful when they came out! Forgive the awful photo folks, I’m not a photographer. That would be my husband.

The recipe I used was this one, http://simpledailyrecipes.com/244/homemade-dinner-rolls/ except I used half white and half wheat bread.

And currently sitting on my stove rising are 2 honey wheat loaves of bread….

The recipe for these was from here, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-whole-wheat-bread/detail.aspx

And in my crock pot, homemade cinnamon applesauce!…

Do you know what my house smells like right now? Like heaven…wrapped in bread and apples and cinnamon. Feel free to come by and take a whiff, but I’m not sharing the food.

Other things that got accomplished…lots of dishes, and I separated my roast into 2 containers so I can use it for 2 different meals.

Some things I’ve learned today:

1. I need to start buying bulk flour. I know there are some different sites out there, so where do you get yours?

2. I need a bread maker. I’m not sure I could be Ma Ingalls every week making it by hand. I’ve done it once before and remember thinking the same thing.

3. I make a mess when I bake.

4. I desperately need to clear out my fridge and freezer to make room for my homemade stuff. I might (read if the children let me) tackle that this afternoon…

All in all, its been a great day, plus the temp dropped and it actually feels like fall! And I still was able to get in some school time this morning, play obstacle course outside for a few minutes with the boys, and rock my baby to sleep on the back patio ❤  *sigh*