Tuesday, November 8, 2011

MPM 11/7

A day late again :)

Monday: Chimichangas from the freezer.
Tuesday: Chicken noodle soup
Wednesday: Pizza. Bought a couple vegan mozzarella cheese. Hopefully they're good!
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Homemade Corn Dogs with soy milk
Saturday: Lunch football game. Not sure if we'll be home for supper or not.
Sunday: Undecided

Check out 100s of other menus at Orgjunkie.com

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MPM 11/1

A day late but I do have a plan this week!

Monday: Halloween. Hot dogs and hot chocolate at the fire hall.
Tuesday: Whole chicken in the crock pot for Adam. Me and kids at MOPS.
Wednesday: Chicken for me and Lauren. Adam supper out.
Thursday: Broccoli Chicken with leftover chicken. I didn't get this made last time it was on the menu.
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Homemade Dairy free potato soup. I might use a combination between this recipe and the one below.
Sunday: Undecided

Dairy Free Potato Soup Saute onions and garlic in EVOO. Add chicken stock, some herbs (whatever I have on hand-thyme, dill, oregano etc.) and potatoes. I boil until potatoes are almost done and chuck in some broccoli. I let it go another few minutes and cool. Then puree it all.

Check out 100s of other menus at Orgjunkie.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meet Kate

Kate Sophia was born on 10/5 at 5:41 in the morning. She was 8 lbs 13 ounces and 21 inches long. A much bigger baby than Lauren was at 7 lbs and 19 in long!

We had quite the night as Lauren was up all night throwing up. She started at 12:30 and stopped at 3:30. Contractions started at 4 and after a mad dash to the hospital Kate was born 29 minutes after we walked through the ER doors. That was even after they kept telling me not to push so we could wait for my doctor.

We are settled in and Lauren loves her new little sister. She wakes up asking for her. I think she wishes Kate could play a little more though :)

First bath:

Leaving the hospital.

Two weeks:

She'll be three weeks old already tomorrow!

I'm getting tired of not having meals planned so hopefully Meal Plan Monday will be back next week!

Monday, September 26, 2011

MPM #3

Monday: Tuna Helper - special request from Adam, gobbled up by Lauren - totally unhealthy but oh so good! Leftovers for me.
Tuesday: Pig in a blanket - extra for the freezer
Wednesday: Roasting a chicken I have in the freezer
Thursday: Leftover Buffet
Friday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Saturday: Nachos - Maybe chicken nachos w/ leftover chicken. Not sure if I'll make these for me or not. I bought some Daiya cheese for me but it's expensive so I might sprinkle a tiny on there if I feel like I can't make it tasty enough w/o cheese.
Sunday: Undecided

I didn't get around to making the Dairy free caramel and Granola bars so hopefully I can get it done this week.

Check out 100s of other menus at Orgjunkie.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Monday again?!

Where did the week go?

I missed some things on our menu last week so you'll see them repeated here:

Monday: Fish, Broccoli
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore, Rice
Wednesday: Burritos with some to freeze (probably rice, refried beans and beef - some w/o cheese)
Thursday: Leftover Buffet
Friday: Mommy eat out at Bachelorette party, Daddy and Lauren fend for themselves. If I had to guess... Pizza
Saturday: Broccoli Chicken
Sunday: Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and country gravy made with soy milk

This week I also plan to make Dairy free caramel for my morning coffee and Granola bars so I need to add any ingredients for those to the grocery list.

Check out 100s of other menus at Orgjunkie.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Meal planning is a great way to stay organized, save yourself some frustration/time and even money!

It's taken me a long time to figure out which is the best way to meal plan for me. I think that meal planning is something that is really personal - there is no one size fits all. I usually do a combination of weekly and monthly planning. I love monthly planning but don't always get it done. Monthly meal planning is where you can really save money. You can do one grocery trip for non-perishables. Less trips to the grocery store = less trips to pick up the randoms not on your list that you don't really need.

I usually only do supper but hopefully adding in breakfast and lunch is something I will work on in the near future.

With our new baby due in a few weeks, I am officially dairy free. I haven't drank milk or eaten ice cream (I have cheated a few times) since becoming pregnant, then slowly moved to switching out butter and just recently have stopped cheese. Hidden dairy hasn't been too much of a concern for me yet but I'm cutting it out as of last week. I was also able to have soy with Lauren so while I don't like to include TOO much soy in our diet, I do use it to fill in where I have to take dairy out. So, all my menu's will be dairy free but may not be as strict as some need them to be. I currently have a list of recipes lined up for the whole month ahead but will be posting weekly.

The best site for menu planning is I'm An Organizing Junkie. She has people link up to her site so you can find LOTS of valuable menus and recipes here. Check her out and welcome if you come over from her site!

Monday: Spaghetti, garlic bread (with Earth Balance buttery spread)
I make this spaghetti sauce doubled and free extra portions. This recipe makes two portions for two of us + toddler. We don't care for a ton of sauce though.
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore, Rice (New recipe)
Wednesday: Meatloaf, Corn
Thursday: Leftover buffet - Adam has EMT class
Friday: Fish, Broccoli
Saturday: Burritos (some version of black bean or refried bean, rice and ground beef with El Pato sauce) - Making lots of extra's to freeze. I will make some with cheese and some w/o cheese. Usually the seasoning/sauce + toppings add enough flavor I actually don't miss the cheese. Ok, I miss it but it still tastes good w/o.
Sunday: Lauren's birthday lunch! I'm sure there will leftover food for supper.

Check out 100s of other menus at Orgjunkie.com

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fair time!

Lauren got to spend a little time at the Saunders County Fair this past month. I was able to take her over to look at the animals one day. They had a petting zoo area that had dogs, cats, goats, ducks, rabbits, chicks, etc. She loved the chicks although she kept calling them ducks :)
This is a video - click on it to watch.
From Instant Upload

Another night there was a town parade in Wahoo. She took a little while to warm up but wanted to be right out there in front with some of her cousins picking up candy. Suckers were her candy of choice. It's actually a very long parade and lasted over an hour. She didn't really like the section of fire trucks as they put all the towns trucks together so it made for quite a few minutes of loud sirens and honking.

She got to visit the animals again, watch a best dressed goat contest and rode the carousel. She wasn't so sure at first but quickly wanted a second ride.


Lauren likes to walk around with her hands on her hips and the wiggles her little bottom as she walks. It's usually quite entertaining.

The other day she was standing with her hand on her hip and her leg bent with her toes pointed and I got caught her doing a little pose with the camera.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fun on the farm

A couple weeks ago we got to spend some time with my nieces. My sister and mom were out of town so I was called in to chauffeur :) Adam got to take a few days off and come with us and we had a great time.

Morning chores at the petting zoo (aka my sisters house):
Bucket calves.

Chasing the kitty.



Not pictured are the dogs, horses and turtles(that Lauren loved!).

Jumping on the trampoline is one of Lauren's favorite pass times.

Walking around Grandma's new flower bed.

and stopping to pet the kitty as often as possible.

Grandma also has 4 kittens that were a Lauren magnet. Luckily they all survived the death grip of a toddler :)

Last but not least, playing in the river!

No, apparently she doesn't know yet not to eat sand.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

When I first started thinking about making homemade yogurt, Adam looked at me funny and told me that was something he didn't think I should tackle. So, I went ahead and did it when he wasn't home :) Guess what? It's really easy, tastes like yogurt and contains no sugar/artificial sweeteners!

Making yogurt is actually a really simple thing to do.
In short:
1. Heat yogurt to 180 degrees to kill any bacteria living in milk.
2. Sterilize jar.
3. Cool milk back down to 120 degrees so when you add your yogurt starter you don't kill the good bacteria.
4. Add yogurt starter.
5. Let sit in 120 degree water bath in small cooler anywhere from 4-24 hrs.

I'm no expert but here is what I do.
First you'll need a good helper. And yes, I've been meaning to do this post for a long time. Notice pictures were taken at our old house.

Fill your jar with milk. This is how I measure it :)

Pour milk into microwaveable container and put in microwave. I have tried microwaving the milk in the jar and my jar has sort of warped. Most people heat their milk up in a pan on the stove. Microwaving seems to work for me so hey, why not? I do like 3 min. intervals, taking it out to mix in between. If you don't have a thermometer, I believe once it gets a skim coating on top, you have reached the desired temp. Or you know, you could probably find one for under $5.

Sterilize jar. This is just a good idea when you are wanting the proper bacteria to grow. I don't always do it though. :) I got some plastic lids off of Amazon for my jars. They are very helpful when storing jars in the fridge. Some people report finding them at Walmart. I saw some at our local small town grocery store.

Next you'll need your yogurt starter. This is simply a plain yogurt with active cultures. I believe different yogurts have different types of bacteria in them. You can also get yogurt cultures in powder form. Once you have your first batch of yogurt, you can save some of that batch to use as your starter in your next batch and so on. I have heard some that if you reuse your starter, it can lose it's potency over time. I bought a big container of plain yogurt and froze the extras in ice cube trays. I believe it's 2 T. per quart of milk. One cube = 2 T.

Since I did that I now have to defrost the starter each time I make yogurt. I just put it in a little dish and set in warm water.

Milk's done!

I set in sink of cold water to cool back down.

Pour it into your jar, add your starter and stir. Not too hard, we are dealing with live bacteria here.

Set in cooler with 120ish degree water. Apparently our hot water heater is set at 120 degrees. Lucky for me :)

Set timer and set in corner of counter. This is the culturing. This is where the good bacteria you want grows.

All in all, maybe 15 min. of active work time to make yogurt.

Here's what else you might need to know.
- You can let it sit anywhere from 4-24 hours. The longer it sits, the more bacteria grows. The thickness and flavor may vary depending on how long it sits. I usually let it go 6 hrs.
- Sometimes I'll check on it and rewarm up the water. Sometimes I won't. One time I didn't and when the time was up, I still had milk. I rewarmed the water and let it sit longer and it actually turned into yogurt then! I was kind of surprised. I thought I had ruined my first batch.
- There is usually whey on top of the yogurt when done. I pour this off.

I usually don't add sugar. My last batch was a little tangy so I have added a little.
To flavor I have added pure vanilla extract, pureed strawberry/raspberry/blackberry, plain pureed strawberry, just cut up fresh fruit to put on top, peach, etc. The possibilities are endless. I have also mashed up a banana and put that in. One banana in one PINT and you don't even taste the yogurt. Tastes like a smoothie! I also add fruit fresh in with banana. IDK if it would turn brown but brown yogurt would freak me out. Maple syrup might taste good...

Click on the blog Heartland Renaissance in my blogroll on the side (my computer is running slow) and she showed another method recently to making yogurt!

Good luck! Questions?

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's a girl!

Lauren is going to have a little sister to have tea parties with!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Few things.

Tomorrow is our gender ultrasound!

11am! Stay tuned! My "feeling" is boy. Adam is going with the safe bet of girl.

It really needs to stop raining.

From Drop Box

Miller lake is going to reach my garden soon.

From Drop Box

A house tour is coming soon.

I just don't feel like it's done enough to show ya'll, but until our other house sells we are stalled with this one so I'm just gonna have to show you where we are.

Our little girl sure is cute.

Snow boots seem to be something that can entertain her for a long time.
From Drop Box

She waves and says bye when we flush the toilet. She waves and says bye to trains as they go past our house. She sees something new and colorful and exclaims "Wow!" in a really high pitched voice.

Snuggling in bed only happens every so often with this mover and shaker but we love when it happens.
From Drop Box

Monday, May 9, 2011

Deck/Front porch

Yes, we moved.

Yes, it's been a while.

No, I haven't been blogging. I keep thinking that we just need to get this done and then I'll take a bunch of pictures of the house. Then I think if we just get the next thing done, I'll take a bunch of pictures. It hasn't happened yet.

BUT, something so exciting happened it deserves blog space.

Our deck/front porch has been built. We've had it for two days now and it's amazing. We've already spent a lot of time out there. I LOVE it.

Lauren got to go shopping with a certain special someone and got lots of new toys to enjoy on the deck!
Everything assembled:

She was convinced this was a bathtub, stripped down and climbed in.

Outdoor playroom! I think I might move her playhouse up here as well.

I found the slide on a garage sale this weekend for $1. I also scored her a swingset for $5! We need to go get it from the previous owners, fill her sandbox, inflate her pool and we are ready for summer! (minus the big missing patches of yard but that will just have to wait)

Also note that the house has been painted. The green is "Rattan Palm" by Pittsburg Paints and the trim is Almond white or something like that (I'll update this name later).

**Click pictures to view a little larger.