Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Wild rice soup

I have a good friend here who cooked at least a month's worth of freezer meals in anticipation of her new baby's arrival. She even pre-made her daughter's school lunches. I thought it was awesome! It got me inspired to at least stock up the soup section in my freezer. I love soup, but I really hate almost every canned soup. Plus, when you really need homemade soup is when you probably don't have the energy or time to make it. So, whenever I make soup, I try to make a huge batch, then freeze it flat in quart sized bags in my freezer.

Today was wild rice soup. I started with this recipe. I'll just tell you what I did (or better yet, would do if I hadn't made so many mistakes. Here is the big deal: My husband and kids actually ate and liked the soup!! It doesn't happen very often in my house that either of my kids will touch "adult" food. This one was a winner! (okay, so my older daughter would only eat the carrots and chicken, but that's about as much as I could expect from her.)

Wild Rice Soup

8 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
6 oz chopped mushrooms
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed small and cooked
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
salt **
curry powder**
bay leaf
rosemary **
4 T cornstarch*
2 cups half and half

Instructions: Throw everything except the half and half and cornstarch into the crock pot. Mix up the cornstarch with water, a teeny bit at a time, to make the rue. Dump in the rue. Cook all day on low heat. Stir in the half and half about an hour before serving. Enjoy.
*Um, so I added only about 2T of cornstarch, and I forgot to add it till the end, so mine was pretty thin. This amount is what I will try next time.
**I just sprinkled some in of each without measuring. I didn't really put in that much, though, and the soup is still pretty flavorful.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

kids cookie tip: placemats

We were making cookies with 3 little girls. Here was my solution that worked nicely: I got out 3 plastic placemats and rolled out dough onto each of them so that each of the girls had their own piece of dough to work with. No one had to argue over where to put the cookie cutters and it was a lot easier to clean up. Happy Valentines treat making!
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pear salad and squash soup

I'm trying to eat more fruits and veggies with this pregnancy. Beneficial in so many ways. So, I have to give thanks to my friend, Emily, for sharing this recipe with the world. It is an Autumn pear salad and is so divine! It has really gotten me through the past 2 weeks of pregnancy. I get one of my big serving bowls and fill it up with this salad- I just can't get enough! And, if you're interested, I'm pretty sure that every other recipe on her site is really delicious, because she's got great taste.

Another favorite of mine is her Velvety Squash soup. It's the smoothness of regular squash soup, but with this spicy kick of curry. My picky loved ones don't love it, so I make a big batch, then freeze them in yogurt cups to make individual servings for myself. As soon as they're frozen, I roll them up in plastic wrap and foil. Then, when I can't eat one more bowl of macaroni and cheese, I just unwrap a single serving of yummy squash soup and nuke it. Mmmm. Really good with homemade Naan.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Alex the Altiod tin magnetic paper doll

Here is the Altoids tin doll that I promised! I used to sell this on Etsy for $2, but I decided that free is much better. So, here's what you do. Print off this image so that it fills a whole sheet of paper. Then follow the instructions that are already on my other site, Recycled Toys. Enjoy!

PS- I'm also working on a less choke-able, less lose-able girl doll.Coming soon!
PPS- this image is for personal use only, please!
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Monday, January 17, 2011

New Years goals

I decided that my favorite, most achievable new years goal this year will be to lose 20 pounds. Most of that will be all in 1 day!!

But, you may be disappointed to read another new years goal: to not care about this blog. Now, that doesn't mean that I won't post anymore. This blog will be for me to record my own personal hobbies. I will not get mad at myself if it stays empty for a while because I have more important things to do. I will not try (in vain) to make money off of this blog. I will still post whenever I feel like it. So far,  counter-intuitively, this goal has lead to me posting more. Don't ask. I don't know.

Along with not trying to make money off of my blog, I'm also going to un-etsy myself. Really, was the $1.10 profit worth it? I like free things. You must like free things, too. Here you go. So, expect sometime in the future to see a free magnetic boy template here. And, if you don't see it soon, you should complain in comments because I do have to follow my goal to be an un-dedicated blogger.

Most of my other new years goals are too personal. Spiritually, I'll at least tell you that I want to simplify my life and make room for the stuff that's most important that makes me most happy.

And, like any good homemaker, I'd really like to have a clean house. I'm trying harder and making improvement that way. My husband has already vetoed the idea of getting a maid, which is fair. I don't really want one, anyway. But, wanting a clean house with toddlers and ambitious preschoolers around makes me feel a bit too much like Don Quixote.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nursery ideas

Here are some more specific nursery ideas that are inspiring me even more:
First, there is this really beautiful nursery over at Jones Design Company. The whole nursery is beautiful, but I loved how they chose a scripture for their daughter and hung it on the wall. 
It made me think that I wanted to do something similar, too. I think my favorite scripture so far is in psalms 31:24, "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."

And, as far as other inspiration, Here is my brother and sister in law's nursery- isn't it beautiful? She has about the best taste of anyone I know.
  • And, her friend made this beautiful nursery. I am in love with the branch on the wall. I love how she used 3-d flowers on it. I'm thinking about giving my mom a project when she comes... :) 

Nursery sneak peek

Can you guess what these will be for? I've been wanting to make one for a long time now...

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painted Fairy food

Have I told you that I love the public library? Well, I do. We got a bunch of kids cookbooks and my older daughter obsessed over this one:
Fairies Cookbook
It had this great recipe in it for  pastel pretzel rings. Basically, you take some dinner roll dough and shape it into pretzil twists. (we used our artisan bread dough that we already had in the fridge.) Then you mix a couple drops of food coloring with 1/2 teaspoon of water. Do this with different colors in different bowls. Then you can paint on whatever you want with paintbrushes or q-tips.
I had never thought of painting my food before, but it opens up all sorts of possibilities. You could paint cookies, quesadillas, pancakes, and bread- really, the list goes on and on. I'm always trying to think of ways to distract my kids in the kitchen while I'm cooking, and this is one they REALLY enjoyed!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

hand painted kids ceramics

You may think that I don't exist anymore, but I do. And, whether by my choice or forced by my 4 year old, we are still doing plenty of hobbies. But, I'm 8 months pregnant and am still behind on Christmas even though it is mid-January. Here is one of the Christmas crafts that we did in December that would be good any time of year!

Buy some white ceramic mugs from the dollar tree. Buy or borrow some tubes of enamel. They're sold next to the acrylic paint in the craft store. We bought a couple of tubes only to come home and see that we had several colors already in our stash- I just didn't realize there was a difference between acrylic and enamel.
The tricky part is that you're not supposed to serve food off of the enamel, so only paint the outside. If I did it again, I think I'd also tape off a rim where your lips go. Turn the teacups or mugs upside down and let the kids have a hay day painting. Then, follow the directions on the paint container to set the paint. I think it was to let it dry for 24 hours, then you bake it in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, making sure to put the cups in before you preheat and leave them in while the oven is cooling. After it is set, I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be dishwasher safe and everything!

I think this project isn't just cool for kids, but could be really fun for adults, too. Like, you could make your sweety a personalized, hand painted mug for Valentine's day. We used ours as gifts to grandparents and all of Elisabeth's preschool teachers. They loved them!
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