Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twinkle, twinkle little......snowflake?

It has been really cold here in Utah.  And since my children have been going around the house singing Christmas songs, here's a little Christmas for you...

Card:  Glitter Cards - DCWV
Cardstock:  Stampin' Up, Bazzill, Georgia Pacific
Dies:  Cuttlebug and Quickutz
Embossing Folder:  Cuttlebug
Embellishments:  White organdy ribbon, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter, assorted gems

Monday, November 16, 2009

Breakfast made simple

I have a confession to make - I don't make breakfast for my family.  We are very much a cold cereal bunch because, well, I like cereal, and it's better for you (if it's not the sugary kind) than a lot of the alternatives.  The problem is, cereal can be expensive (unless you never spend more than $1 a box, but we'll leave that for another discussion) and I have been trying to find ways of incorporating food storage type foods more in our every day diet.

So what do you do when you're trying to use the oats and wheat in your food storage and you don't particularly like getting up at the crack of dawn to prepare breakfast for your family?


Prepare breakfast the night before!

I have found the most yummy recipe for crockpot oatmeal at one of my favorite food storage websites:

This makes a really big batch of oatmeal, so if you don't need that much you can either refrigerate leftovers and just reheat with some milk later, or you can try a slightly modified, scaled down version that I use.  Personally, I didn't see the point of leaving the crockpot on all night since I have a handy dandy timer that I could program and plug the crockpot into.  Here's my version:

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats (you can't use regular or instant because they cook too fast and you would have cement in the morning)
4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup powdered milk (and they'll never know it's in there)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

To be added in the morning:
Brown sugar to taste
Toasted, chopped almonds

Put all ingredients into a 3-4 quart crockpot set on Low, and set your timer to be on for 3 hours (mine goes on at 4 am and off at 7 am).  In the morning, stir, and sprinkle with brown sugar and toasted almonds.  YUM!  Serves 5-6.  Oh, and if you want an extra easy clean up, butter the crockpot lightly before adding all the ingredients.  Butter makes it better, right?

If you don't have a timer, add 1/2 to 1 cup of extra water and turn your crockpot on to low at bedtime.

I have tried this with cracked wheat too, although I'm still perfecting that recipe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cauliflower Soup

Continuing on with soup week, I thought it was high time I did something with the organic cauliflower my mom left at my house (don't all moms leave cauliflower in their wake?). So I made this delicious recipe from Pioneer Woman. Can I tell you how much I love Pioneer Woman? I want to be her. But since I can't, I can at least make her soup--and it's delish.
Let me give credit: this is her picture because 1) she takes amazing pictures and 2) my soup is just in a big stock pot, not a cute tureen. I don't even own a tureen. But I should, because I love soup and I make it a lot. I did alter it slightly, I used skim milk instead of whole, but cream instead of half and half. Just depended on what I had in the house. I also used half the butter and added potatoes to the mix and garnished with cheese. And I stuck the stick blender in it for a second or two to make it even MORE creamy (plus it's great at disguising vegetables!). I think it would also be good with some bacon on top. Isn't everything better with bacon?
My kids each ate 2 bowls. I won't say how many I had. Serve this up with crusty bread and a dark green salad and you've got a family favorite. Thanks Pioneer Woman!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mexican Chicken Soup

I love soup. I love Fall. I love soup in the Fall. So I'm going to be posting some of my all-time favorite warm-your-belly great for fall soup recipes. But actually they are good anytime of year!

Mexican Chicken Soup
via ward cookbook
Carisa Hansen
Taste of Home

1.5 lbs cut up chicken (or 1 can chicken breast from your food storage)

1/2 cup chopped onion (or substitute dried)

1-2 tsp. minced garlic

3T butter or olive oil

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 c. boiling water

1/2 - 1tsp. cumin (I like a lot)

2 c. half and half (or evaporated milk)

2 c. shredded cheese (Monterrey jack is best, but I've also used Velveeta, low fat cheese, or whatever I have in the fridge)

1 can creamed corn

1 can diced green chilies, undrained

Brown chicken, onion and garlic in butter. Dissolve bouillon in water. Add to chicken. Add cumin and bring to boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Add milk and the rest of ingredients and simmer til cheese melts through.

This is great served with chips, or over rice, or with a can of black beans added. Yum!
photo credit: flickr

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My continuing love of all things cupcake

This is a recipe file that I made as a wedding gift.  It was made using a 4 x 6 chipboard calendar from Maya Road.  Chipboard is basically a fancy name for (non-corrugated) cardboard and it certainly isn't anything new, but I haven't really appreciated all the fun stuff you could do with it until now.  And Maya Road has way more than just chipboard - lots of great products and ideas.  Check them out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inspiration in the strangest places

I have such a love/hate relationship with cleaning.  I love cleanliness and I can honestly say that I feel better when my surroundings are clean and organized.  I don't hate cleaning, but I do hate clutter so cleaning is a necessary means to an end.  Clutter short circuits my brain, especially in the house I am living in right now because there is a beautiful open concept kitchen/living room - there's no way to get away from the mess!  And with three children - well, you can imagine that the mess leaves me in a constant state of torture. 

My kitchen has been in need of deep cleaning since canning season, and today I finally couldn't take it anymore.  There are a lot of great cleaning products and tools out there, but I think my absolute favorite is my steam cleaner.

I know, I'm always a little suspicious of something that got it's big start in the form of an infomercial, but these really work!  I got one for Christmas a few years ago - it's even my favorite color!  There are things that you can do with a steam cleaner that you just can't accomplish any other way.  And it's all done with water!  If you're concerned about chemical residues there is no better solution.  Today I started thinking I would just clean my sink, but then went on to the stove top, the microwave, countertops.  The most remarkable difference I noticed was when I took it to my old toaster.  It was really dirty and greasy looking, but the steam takes it right off.  You can even get floor attachments with many models.

Cleaning is a dirty (ha ha) job, so thank goodness for tools that can make it easier.
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