Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beginning our spring garden

This is the first year that I'll get to have a garden. Last year I wanted to, but I was pretty pregnant and tired, so I just did some window box plants. I'm so excited, but a little scared that I might flop. I'm starting most of our plants from seeds, and figure they're pretty cheap, so if they don't grow, at least I can buy plants later.

I took the boys to pick up supplies for our garden the other day. I had intended to use a tutorial I found to make newspaper seed pots, but then I just broke down and bought a big jiffy pot planter. Jack saw this Veggie Tales planter set that he liked, so I bought him his very own little garden (it helped that I had a $10 off of $20 K-Mart coupon and I was close but not quite at the $20 mark). He LOVED planting his very own seeds, and has been very attentive- and maybe a little TOO enthusiastic about watering and checking for "baby planties!"gardening

I was very impressed with K-Mart's selection of seeds, by the way. I was able to get mostly heirloom varieties of my favorite veggies. So far I've planted sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, lavender, thyme, basil, oregano, chives, and parsley. I used an egg carton for some of my herbs. I have a few other varieties of seeds that will either be planted into the ground, or planted indoors later to be hot weather plants. So maybe I'll get around to making those newspaper pots after all. Jack planted a variety of wide flowers, sunflowers, lavender and a tiny strawberry plant- we'll see on that one. :)

Hopefully I'll be able to share lots of good news about our garden adventuring this year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mikey's Favorite Noodle Soup

One Pot Wonders

My husband's favorite soup used to be kind of an enigma to me. But now I've been making it for a few years, and I've come to realize it's the perfect pantry meal- pretty much anything you can It's basically mashed potatoes with soup over it.


Here's what I do. I can't really write a recipe, because it's never done the same way twice. Take whatever cooked, shredded or chopped meat you have on hand, add it to some simmering broth, and throw in cooked pasta and some veggies. I think Mike would love it if I'd leave out the veggies, but I love him too much to do that. :-) Then, layer the soup over hot mashed potatoes in a bowl.

I have to say, it's yummy. Who knew soup over potatoes would actually be good?! This time I used shredded chicken and turkey, because I didn't have enough of just one. I also used chicken broth and ham stock I had frozen, along with a random assortment of veggies.

How do you do noodle soup?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun with Rice

Alternately titled: Why I'm still finding rice in Jack's thick hair


Around here, food's not just for eating! Last week my friend Cheryl and her littles came by to use my sewing machine. Looking for a few minutes to work on her project, I set out the rice sensory bucket for the two bigger kids. This time they decided throwing rice would be more fun then playing with it. :-)


Lucky for me, they also enjoyed "cleaning" it up. :-)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Make It Yourself Monday- Cream Soup

So my friend Anjanette over at Eat From Your Pantry is hosting a new weekly carnival! The focus is on making something that is commonly bought pre-made. I've been meaning to post about making homemade condensed cream of _____ soup, so this is the perfect occasion!

I make lots of casseroles, and cream of chicken or mushroom soup is a large part of many casseroles. Although I can usually get it pretty cheap, the canned stuff has so much sodium along with preservatives and other icky stuff in it. While I still use it when I can get it for free or close to free, I'm moving towards filling my kiddos with more real food, and less chemicals, so I tried my hand at this recently. It turned out great, and would be a good recipe even for someone who simply realized they were out of the condensed soup needed for a recipe. I found a couple of examples online, and experimented until I got the recipe as I liked it.

Homemade Cream of _____ Soup (makes the equivalent of 2 cans)

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 t onion powder

1/4 t garlic powder

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/8 t paprika

2 cups milk or chicken broth

Heat butter and oil then add flour and spices. Cook to make a roux. Add milk (or chicken broth) and stir until thickened. You may add 1/4 or so of cooked mushrooms, celery or shredded chicken (etc.), if desired.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fall Nostalgia?

While I'm definitely busy celebrating the fact that Spring might actually come this year (was anyone else in doubt?!), I took one look at all the leftover cans of pumpkin in my pantry today and had to try some pumpkin cookies. Here's what I came up with!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 C flour

3/4 C brown sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t nutmeg

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 C butter (room temp)

1/4 C coconut oil

1 egg, beaten

1 C pumpkin puree

1 1/2 C oats

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In your food processor (or by hand) mix flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter and oil and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add pumpkin and egg. Stir in oats by hand (I had to transfer to a large bow, since my food processor wasn't big enough). Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12-15 minutes.

No picture, because the batch I made up was gone too soon! The rest of the batter is sitting in my fridge waiting to be baked, because a certain 5 month old is soooo fussy today, I couldn't finish baking! :)