Category: Food

Link Round-up: DIY Solid Perfume, New Year’s Eve, and More

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has DIY solid perfume, a New Year’s Eve treat, and more.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make cute Grinch grape snack bags.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make your own solid perfume.

Uncommon Designs Online showed us how to make raspberry walnut baked brie.

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Kenarry shared a recipe for Oreo cookie balls that will be perfect for New Year’s Eve.

The Thrifty Couple showed us how to create a wrapping station from a kitchen stool.

Tastes Better from Scratch taught us how to make rocky road fudge.

Sunny Simple Life shared a quick tip on how to make the faucet sparkle.

Photo credit: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons and Kenarry

Link Round-up: Holiday Food Ideas, Ornaments, and More

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up features holiday food ideas, ornaments, and more.

Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make clothespin snowflake ornaments.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a dollhouse pillow.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons shared a cute snowman mashed potatoes idea.

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Kenarry shared a fun holiday recipe featuring peanut butter and graham crackers.

Uncommon Designs Online showed us how to create vintage stripe aged galvanized buckets.

Musings of a SAHM showed us how to make peppermint pots de crème.

Stockpiling Moms showed us how to make buckeye dip.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and Kenarry

Link Round-up: Organizing Leftovers, Sweets, a Gift Guide, and More

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has chalkboard Pyrex dishes, sweets, a gift guide, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us a good idea for keeping the leftovers organized in the fridge.

A Beautiful Mess showed us five DIY holiday garlands.

Rad Mom Cool Kid shared a holiday gift guide for babies and toddlers.

This Silly Girl’s Life shared a recipe for cherry cheesecake snowman cookies.

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Kenarry shared a recipe for cranberry white chocolate chip cookies.

Wheel n Deal Mama showed us how to make chocolate covered spoons for a hot chocolate bar.

Save More Spend Less with Heidi taught us how to make a cinnamon votive candle holder.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Kenarry

Link Round-up: Paper Snowflakes, Crochet Coasters, a Gift Guide, and More

Posted on Dec 9, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has paper snowflakes, crochet coasters, a gift guide, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make faux stained glass paper snowflakes..

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to crochet cute coasters.

Rad Mom Cool Kid shared a gift guide for kids.

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Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make terra cotta Christmas bells

Fitness Food Diva shared a recipe for turkey meatloaf.

Patchwork Posse shared free Elf on the Shelf doll pattern.

This Silly Girl’s Life taught us how to make mint chocolate Oreo fudge.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and Muslin and Merlot

What’s in Your Kid’s Yogurt?

Posted on Dec 5, 2014 by No Comments

I am old enough that I remember the time when there was no such thing as yogurt in conventional grocery stores. It wasn’t until the health movement in the 1970s that yogurt started showing up.

Of course now you can find yogurt in all flavors, types, and containers. Essentially, it is a healthy food as long as you take a few precautions.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is a controversial ingredient. Some people feel it is OK while others try to stay away from it. Do your research and come to your own conclusions.

Personally, I don’t like eating highly processed foods so this is a no in our household. Yoplait has taken it out of their yogurt and started using real sugar again but most companies are still using the HFCS.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a sugar substitute. It is falling out of favor with the public because there are new studies that show that it may cause adverse effects both long and short term. It is being replaced in some brands with sucralose which more people feel comfortable with.

I don’t let my kids have artificial sweeteners of any sort because I don’t really trust them. I prefer that if we use something other than pure cane sugar, it is stevia.

Artificial Colorings

Artificial colorings are controversial. In fact, they are not permitted in food in many European countries so the American companies make European versions of their product without colorings. This is another one of those issues that you should do a little research on so that you can form your own educated opinion.

Carmine is a red coloring that people sometimes get upset about. Not me.

Carmine is made from ground cochineal beetles. Now, while it may sound disgusting it is natural and has been used for hundreds of years. Plus, people of many countries, including Mexico, still do eat various insects as food.

Gross as this may sound I would rather have ground bugs that are not going to affect my health than an artificial dye which is questionable.

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is derived from seaweed and is added to products to make them creamier. You’ll find it in heavy whipping cream, cottage cheese, puddings, and yogurt plus a ton of other (mostly dairy) products.

There are some reports that it can cause gastrointestinal issues, including some forms of cancer. Buying organic yogurt may not totally solve the problem either. Many of the companies that produce organic yogurts use the product. Look for alternatives like guar, locust bean, and xanthan gum.

Make Your Own

Yogurt is a cinch to make and you can control what is going into it. Homemade yogurt is much cheaper than commercial yogurt, too. There are instructions all over the Internet so I won’t go into that here.

One of the things I like to do is to heat a vanilla bean in the milk as I am heating it up for the yogurt because it adds a delicate vanilla flavor. I also like to put jam on the bottom of the jars before I add the yogurt.

You can copy any kind of yogurt your child likes and make it cheaper and healthier at home.

photo credit: lupinoduck via photopin cc

Link Round-up: Recipes, Wreaths, Congestion Relief, and More

Posted on Dec 4, 2014 by 3 Comments

Today’s link round-up has recipes for appetizers and chicken and dumplings, holiday décor how-tos, and more.

Homemade Interest shared restaurant-inspired Asian appetizers.

A Mom’s Take shared tips for toddler relief from congestion.

A Cultivated Nest showed us how to put together an easy winter scarf wreath.

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Kenarry shared a clean veggie-packed chicken and dumplings recipe.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a fleece winter wreath.

This Mama Loves taught us how to make a cork angel ornament.

Miss Information showed us how to make cute ornaments using glass etching cream.

Photo credit: Homemade Interest and Kenarry

Simplify Your Life with a Weekly Meal Plan

Posted on Dec 3, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for an easy way to free up some time in your schedule, I highly recommend making a meal plan.

A meal plan is simply a list of what you are going to have for each meal. Most people do a weekly meal plan, but you could do a monthly meal plan if you wanted. I use a weekly plan because I’m not organized enough to schedule everything a month in advance.

I asked my son and my husband for a list of their favorite foods to make my meal plan, then tried to pick meals that were budget-friendly. I also considered our weekly schedule and picked the easiest to cook meals for the times when I knew I’d be least likely to want to spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen. Friday night, for example, is pizza night so we can enjoy watching a movie or doing something together as a family.

I left some flexibility in the meal plan to play with different side dishes, which helps keep us from feeling like we’re eating the same thing all the time and gives me a little room to take advantage of weekly grocery specials.

Sometimes we have baked potatoes and steamed broccoli with our chicken and sometimes I’ll make peas and carrots with homemade mac and cheese. We have a dessert if I’m feeling ambitious or happen to be craving chocolate.

There are four things I really like about this approach to managing meal prep:

  • It eliminates the annoyance of trying to figure out what to cook for every single meal.
  • My husband is more likely to help out with meals if he knows exactly what he needs to do. The list is taped to the refrigerator, so it’s readily available.
  • Grocery shopping is a snap because I’m buying basically the same stuff each week.
  • We waste less food because I’m not overbuying at the store.

Photo credit: Nick Nguyen

Link Round-up: Chicken Pot Pie, Elf on the Shelf Kissing Booth, a Gift Idea, and More

Posted on Dec 2, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up shows us how to make quick chicken pot pie, create an Elf on the Shelf kissing booth, make a gift for a busy woman, and more.

The Socialite’s Closet taught us how to make a pampering gift for a busy woman.

A Mom’s Take showed us how to make a quick chicken pot pie.

This Mama Loves showed us how to make an Elf on the Shelf kissing booth.

Keep It Simple Sweetie shared a chocolate Guinness cupcakes recipe.

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A Cedar Spoon taught us how to make delicious honey glazed carrots.

Organized 31 gave us an idea of something to do with all those leftover laundry scoops.

Create Craft Love showed us how to make a woodland plaid winter wreath.

Photo credit: The Socialite’s Closet and A Cedar Spoon

How to Make Your Own Veggie Chips

Posted on Nov 28, 2014 by No Comments

If you’re looking for a unique way to turn garden produce into healthy snacks for your family, you can’t go wrong with a food dehydrator. Dehydrators make it easy to turn your favorite veggies into healthy chip alternatives.

Check out the following recipes, courtesy of Excalibur Dehydrators. Excalibur Food Dehydrators are compact enough to fit on your kitchen counter, but incorporate the Parallexx™ Horizontal-Airflow Drying System for performance, speed, temperature control, durability, and versatility.

Sweet Potato Chips

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary flakes
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  1. Wash and dry sweet potato. Then thinly slice sweet potato. In a bowl coat sweet potato slices with lemon juice and olive oil. Then add dry ingredients. Place sweet potato slices in a single layer on Excalibur dehydrator tray.
  2. Dry at 125º F for 7 to 11 hours or until sweet potato chips become crisp.
  3. Let chips cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container.

Barbecue Cucumber Chips

  • 3 large cucumbers
  • 1⅓ tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  1. Wash and dry cucumbers. Then thinly slice cucumbers. In a bowl, mix cucumbers and all seasonings. Place cucumbers in a single layer on Excalibur dehydrator trays.
  2. Dry at 125º F for 4 to 8 hours or until cucumbers become crisp.
  3. Let cucumber chips cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container.

Tomato Chips

  • 8 heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Wash, dry and core tomatoes. Then slice tomatoes ¼” thick. Season tomatoes by sprinkling salt, basil, oregano and ground black pepper. Place vegetables in a single layer on Excalibur dehydrator trays.
  2. Dry at 155º F for 8 to 12 hours or until tomatoes become crisp.
  3. Let tomato chips cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container.

Carrot Chips

  • 1 carrot
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  1. Wash and dry carrots. Then thinly slice carrots. In a bowl mix carrots, salt, melted coconut oil and cinnamon. Place carrots in a single layer on Excalibur dehydrator trays.
  2. Dry at 125º F for 6 to 10 hours or until carrots become crisp.
  3. Let carrot chips cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container.

Photo credit: Excalibur Dehydrators