Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Month: March 2009

The Diary of a Novice Gardener: Making Progress

Old Man Winter has been reluctant to leave. The minute I think we are heading into mild weather, bitter cold and shrill winds rip through causing me to re-think packing up the winter clothing. Last year, Old Man Winter toyed with us clear into June. […]

The Traveling Snack Bag

While we teach the kids the importance of sharing, sometimes it is better to choose your battles. So it is with the case of the one-eyed woolly monster. My friend relayed a story once about her husband and cereal. Growing up, it was first come, […]

A Fancy Pudding Pie

A couple weeks ago, I took Mason and Adelin to a kids workshop where they learned to make dirt referring to the dessert known as, Dirt. The kids helped measure the milk and stir the pudding. Each child was given a cup and bag with oreos (to go with the chocolate pudding) or vanilla sandwich cookies (to go with the vanilla pudding) to smash. Then, they mixed their cookies with the pudding in the cup, added a few worms and stuck them in the refrigerator to set.

I went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things one of the items being eggs. Guess what I found in the front seat of my car this morning? Since we were without eggs, I opted to make pudding for the kids’ afternoon snack. As I was stirring the cook and serve boxed pudding, I thought about the Dirt the kids made and how much fun they had putting it together. While the pudding cooled, I put a variety of ingredients on the table to give the kids the opportunity to make their own fanciful pudding concoctions.

We used sliced strawberries, a sliced banana, coconut, chocolate chips, graham crackers, walnuts and nutella. I think the best part was piling on the toppings.

Limeade or Lemonade Dressing

With the birth of our first baby, my mom flew out to help me get settled in as a new mother. One day for lunch, she surprised me with a glass of blueberries drizzled with lemonade dressing. It was a special moment, because her mom […]

Italian Steak and Bread Salad

I enjoy making my own croutons, because they have more flavor than the store-bought kind. It is also another way of using up day-old bread or the crust cut off of the kids sandwiches. I changed the original recipe up a bit mostly because I […]

I Love Cleaning My Kitchen Table Chairs

I did it. I covered my chair cushions with clear vinyl from the fabric store. I know for years it was a decor no-no. I thought so, until I saw a picture in “Traditional Home”. If Clinton and Stacy from “What not to Wear” were here, I know they would say, “Just because it is in a magazine, does not mean you should do it.”

My sister-n-law, Natalie, gave us her slightly used table and chairs, all from Ikea. What I love most about the chairs, are the seat cushions. The fabric is actually a cover. I did not know that until the first time I removed the cushions from the chair to measure for replacement material. I threw the covers in the wash instead of buying new ones. They have been spilled on, stained, and bleached until there is no hope left.

The chairs in the magazine looked fabulous. Originally, we looked at other styles of vinyl, but I was not satisfied with the selections available. I found some decent upholstery material on sale for a dollar and decided, if it is going to last, I would have to cover it with the clear vinyl. It is not like I went and covered my living room couches and chairs. Most important of all, they are kid proof. I giggle every time I swipe the rag across the chair seat. Cleaning is a cinch. No more scrubbing. No more bleaching.

Scout out fabric discount stores, yard sales and thrift stores for deals on fabric. Belive it or not, I used to find beautiful fabric at Walmart. When I decorated our first house, I found amazing deals at a $2.00 fabric store. Material that regularly costs between $15 – $20, was $1.00 – $10. Other tools may include a pair of scissors, a staple gun with staples and 1 1/2 inch foam. WikiHow has a step by step tutorial on how to reupholster a dining chair.

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Pancake Sandwich

I do not remember where I found this recipe. I thought it was in a book called Sugar-Free Toddlers by Susan Watson.  When I went looking for the recipe to verify, I could not find it in the book. These little pancake sandwiches have been a […]

Spinach and Grape Salad

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today, a perfect day for a picnic. We ran around the backyard with Police Officer Mason in hot pursuit. Mason is a no-nonsense cop. Forget the ticket for speeding, we had to go straight to jail on the trampoline, where […]

Hold the Crust Please

I had an Epiphany while making PB&J Sandwiches for lunch. As I stood there staring at the pile of wasted bread crusts (the kids do not like to eat the crust), I thought this is almost two and a half slices of bread about to be thrown into the garbage. My mom always told us to eat our crusts, because it makes your hair curly. It was a saying passed down from her father who loved the crust best of all. “Back in my day…” untouched food on the plate usually elicited a comment like “eat your greens, there are starving kids in China.”  Or something like “Waste not, want not.”

What I should have done, was cut the crust off before spreading the peanut butter and jelly and used it for croutons or bread crumbs. With stopping the waste on my mind, I saved the leftover half eaten bananas from breakfast and used them in a banana smoothie at snack time. I try to freeze extra fruit and vegetables before they go bad, especially blueberries and strawberries, which we use to make smoothies. Once I tried to compost from leftover food scraps, it ended in a fly-infested mess. Making a compost pile is not as easy as it sounds. Most of the time, I try to scale down recipes or try to turn a leftover into something else. Stephen refuses to eat leftovers and some leftovers are not as good the next day.

The teacher’s aide at Mason’s school uses up vegetables by throwing them in a pot for soup, or roasts them with some meat. My mom used to make her version of tootsie rolls from pie dough scraps. My brother told me about some friends of ours who continuously used the same enormous pickle jar by adding fresh mini cucumbers to the brine. Love Food Hate Waste is a site dedicated to helping the community become more mindful of what we throw away and how to use what we have. The Kitchn suggested using a magnetic whiteboard on the fridge. Every time they buy produce, they write it down. As it gets used up, erase it from the board. Also, write down any leftovers in the fridge.

A friend’s mom once asked me to help her make a menu using a list of food items. A college student at the time, I took great care to make sure every ounce of the food I picked would be used up. She laughed when she saw my final draft noting it looked boring. Where was the variety? I was thinking as a budget-minded college student, which is probably the mindset we should have when planning our meals. Planning meals around each other ensures we use every cent spent and it is less likely the food will go to waste. Every item has a purpose. It is just as important when making a shopping list to write down the exact amount of ingredients needed. Check the freezer, pantry and refrigerator first. Why spend the extra cash on something you already have. When planning a weekly menu keep in mind, if you like to eat out one or two nights a week, only plan dinners for five or six nights.

I learned a valuable lesson during our last move. 1. It is easy to stockpile goods and 2. There are at least four to six meals hidden away in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.

Cinnamon Bun Pizza

One of my favorite pizza joints is Zachary’s Pizza located in Berkley, California. It is a well known hidden treasure. They are the home of the traditional Chicago pizza pie. A layer of pizza dough topped with sauce, toppings and cheese. Then, another layer of […]