cooking/meal planning, crafting, homeschooling, Us!!!

Hibernation cupcakes 

Evie made some fun cupcakes today. We are reading a book that talks about bears hibernating so we made cupcakes that were caves. They each had a bear in them and icing and sprinkles for snow. 





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cooking/meal planning, crafting, homeschooling, Us!!!

Periodic Table Cookies

We enjoyed using Apologia’s Astronomy so much that we started their Chemistry and Physics book. These are the ones for Kindergarten through 6 grade. David and I love them!!!

Here is the Periodic table we made today. There are directions in the book but if I ever do it again I will use graham crackers instead of making cookies! We choose to use canned icing when I didn’t quite understand the icing recipe they had. I think it was s glaze but that’s too messy for me. Also next time I would get way more writing icing. We used all of 5 tubes to do this. I would have preferred our symbols to not be so colorful, but this worked.

The kids enjoyed picking which cookie element to eat first. David had mercury because he wanted a poisonous metal, Evie ate helium to make her voice funny like when it’s in a balloon, Thomas chose a radioactive one. I ate gold and Allie had Fluoride then lead. Each cookie picked after that was an element learned! Score! We even picked two at a time to make compounds. Woohoo!!!!

cooking/meal planning, curriculum reviews

MyFreezEasy Meal Plan Review

There are a few times a year that I take a step back and reassess how things are done around here.  It’s usually Christmas Break/New Year’s, Spring Break and Back to School time.  This year as we were getting ready to enter a very busy school year I was trying to figure out how I was going to feed everyone every night and meet each person’s likes and diary restrictions all while feeding 8 people on a VERY tight food budget. As I thought and prayed, this review came up.  Thank you!!!!!  I have been using MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy for more than a month and love it!

This online meal plan site has been a great help to me.  My husband and I have been eating low carb/ketogenic/ Trim Healthy Mama kinda sorta, but we are trying (he’s doing better than me).  We have one daughter that is very sensitive to dairy and some of the other kids are super picky!!  When we  have days that I don’t have time to cook, or if I don’t plan ahead we eat junk or cereal.  This is what I decided to do- I make a low carb meal and freeze it in single portion sizes, instead of big trays,  to use for lunches or dinners and I make a kid friendly meals that serves 6-8.  Since I don’t have a whole day to devote to meal prep, I will make one kid’s meal for dinner and one for the freezer.  I try to provide dairy free dinners or options 3-4 times a week.  The other days my daughter will choose something else or take a lactaid pill if she likes the dinner.

So you can see I haven’t used this site exactly as it was designed, but I do love it!  The meal choices change monthly so there is variety.  You can pick and choose your meals, change the serving sizes and download, save and/or print by using the Build My Own Meal plan option.  This also generates a shopping list for you!  I can move recipes into my own plan and customize them for us.

The first thing we made was the Lazy Lasagna Bake.  I made one for that night and one for the freezer, it didn’t take any longer than making dinner.  My family is very specific with what’s in their food, no onions, no vegetable chunks you see where I’m going with this. Even though the recipes are written with things they don’t like, I just left them out.  Our food was still delicious and they ate it all!  Others on my September menu were Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup and Chicken Fajita Bake.

I’m very pleased with how easy this site makes it for me to plan ahead.  I can make 10 meals in an hour to freeze for later or I can make one for dinner and freeze the other for later.  Both save me so much time and I know I’m feeding my family good food. I love that the site is set up with plans for all chicken or pork or beef, so if you find a sale you can do a set of meals for just that meat.  This is great to put those away in the freezer and hit to next sale and keep doing like that until your freezer is full of a great variety of meals and you’ve saved a lot of time and money.

This site has given me food planning freedom!  There are some many choices that I can make great meals for my picky family.  I have been more successful with meal planning than I have been in a long time.  I know that if I can’t get to something I have back ups in the freezer.

This month I’m looking forward to Bacon Cheeseburger Nachos and Upside Down Frito Pie!!!

 

You can find MyFreezEasy on these social media sites:

 

Many, many other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to use this freezer meal planning site also.  She what they thought of it and how they liked it by clicking on the banner below.

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

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cooking/meal planning, recipes, Us!!!

Really?! It’s the end of May? (and a strawberry jam recipe)

I’m still trying to get last Christmas done!!!  Oh my!  Next thing I know it will be Christmas again!  I’m still waiting for that nice quiet time in January where you get everything caught up.  I guess I’ll stop complaining and enjoy the ride while I have it.  Some day my house will be empty, my plants will actually grow and I won’t know what to do!

Here’s just a few updates for May:

Katie is leaving for Japan today!  She will go from Louisville to Detroit, then take a 13 hour flight to Tokyo.  From there she will take a short flight to where she is staying in Japan.  Her birthday is Saturday, but because of the time changes she will be flying through and the length of time in the air, she will only have a few hours of birthday on the ground.  Definitely a cool story to remember your 21st birthday!

Allie turned 14!  I still can’t believe that one!  She was my baby for a long time!

Co-op  and American Heritage girls has come to an end for the school year.

I have been at the dentist more in May than any other time.  Between me and the kids it’s been a busy dentist month.

We picked strawberries and make 8 1/2 quarts of strawberry jam.  We NEED more to make it to next year though!

We got our bees, had lots of chicks hatch, hatched some guinea fowl and working on hatching some turkeys.  We’ve had a lot of babies animals been born and the sadness of animal deaths.

Here is the strawberry jam recipe that I used:

What You Need

5 cups  prepared fruit (about 2 quarts fully ripe strawberries)
1 box  SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
1/2 tsp.  butter or margarine (optional)
7 cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl

Make It

BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.

STIR pectin into prepared fruit in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

cooking/meal planning, recipes

My Jambalaya Recipe

Our whole family likes this!  I do separate some out before I add the spices and only add a little to that one.

3 chicken breasts, cubed (thigh meat or leftover chicken works great too)

1 pound kielbasa, sliced

1 (15oz) can tomatoes, undrained (I use pureed, we prefer no tomato chunks)

1 green pepper, chopped (optional)

1 cup chicken broth

1 onion, chopped

4 servings rice (I usually make more for some to add more rice to theirs and have leftovers)

2T Creole Seasoning

Saute keilbasa in skillet with a little bit of oil.  Add onion and green pepper.  Add chicken until cooked, add tomatoes and broth.   Add seasoning.  Cook until thick and add or serve over rice. Serve with hot sauce and corn bread.

Makes 8 servings

cooking/meal planning

Silly me!

For some reason I thought that my life was going to slow down after the holidays.  NOPE!  We have had our regular activities x 3 school age children and 3- two and under plus all the sick yuckies that are going around.  Whew, I’m thinking spring allergies are starting to seem pretty easy compared to what we’ve had since Thanksgiving.  I am grateful that we haven’t had any serious illnesses, just lots of the “creeping crud”!

We did have a yummy dinner tonight that I wanted to share.  It was perfect after being at co-op all day and it was definitely comfort food.  It is one of my favorite Pinterest finds.

Baked Potato Soup- Slow cooker style at Mama Loves Food

It’s super easy, you don’t even have to peel the potatoes!  Wash, cut, put in the crock pot!  I could smell it from the driveway when I got home!!!  Yum!!!

 

cooking/meal planning

Our budget friendly dinner

A friend and I have both discovered that our family likes red beans and rice!  It’s a great use of cheap and nutritious food.  Most of the meal is kidney beans and rice.  Our recipe has 1 pound of sausage, but some call for as little meat as a little bacon or meat from a ham hock.   We were gifted some wild boar sausage, so that’s what we are using tonight.  It’s delicious!  If you would have asked me a few years (and kids) ago, if I would eat wild boar or elk or home butchered chickens the answer would have been a big fat NO!!!  Venison we had on occasion and that’s ok, but all that other “strange stuff”, I don’t think so!  Well times and situations have changed and we have changed the way we eat.  Lots of homemade and we have tried lots of different available meats!  I am so glad we did and we are healthier for it.

Here’s the recipe are are having tonight from Hillbilly Housewife:

Red Beans & Rice

  • 1 pound dry kidney beans (approximately 6 cups cooked)
  • 2 quarts of tap water
  • 1 pound turkey sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Good shot of Tabasco Sauce
  • Hot Cooked Brown Rice or White Rice (double the recipe for the rice)

Soak the kidney beans overnight in the tap water, or you can use the quick soak method. Bring them to a boil in the tap water, and then let them sit, covered, on the back of the stove for an hour or two.

After you have done the initial bean preparations let them boil for about an hour or until they are getting tender. While they cook you can prepare the vegetables and the meat. The onion, celery and garlic will need chopping.

Fry the turkey sausage in a large skillet. Crumble it up with a fork as it cooks. Set the sausage aside until the beans have cooked at least an hour.

After the beans have softened up and are getting close to tender, it is time to add the rest of the ingredients. If your sausage is spicy, you may not want to add the Hot Sauce, so taste it before adding any willy-nilly. If your sausage is not spicy then a small shot of Hot Sauce will marry nicely with the rest of the dish. Simmer the beans, sausage and vegetables for about a half an hour longer, or until the beans are all the way tender. I put the brown rice on to cook right before I add the vegetables and sausage to the beans. This gets them both done at about the same time.

Serve this by scooping up a big glob of rice into a cereal bowl. Next ladle a goodly amount of the bean mixture on top of the rice. Eat with black pepper, and a little vinegar on the side, for tangy-ness. I like biscuits and all-fruit jelly with this dish. I make the biscuits right after the vegetables and sausage go into the pot. They are usually done by the time the family sits down at the table and finishes saying grace.