Monday, January 25, 2010

What's for dinner (1-25-10)

     Here is Maxwell enjoying his dinner of Vege crust pizza and green beans. He ate everything! It's a breakthrough in his vegetable eating. I once again made the Summer Squash Crust found on and added zucchini, carrot and garlic to it. This time, however, I used my juicer to get all the liquid out and was much more successful at having a realistic crust instead of a mushy one. I think next time I will put more oil underneath it so it won't stick to the pan so much. I put parmesan on the green beans this time. I wonder if that is what finally made Maxwell eat them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's for dinner? (12-13+14-10)

    Last night we had chicken drumsticks cooked in the crock pot all day long with salsa and corn. Yummy. Nine hours in the crock pot made for some extremely tender chicken. It was a super simple 5 minute prep dinner. It is definitely something I will do again.
    Tonight, finally success! I made a pizza with no sauce. The recipe for the crust was based on this one, which calls for either summer squash or zucchini. I used both summer squash and zucchini and also added a carrot and two cloves of garlic. My kids had no idea that they were eating vegetables. My son's radar was fooled! I would definitely suggest this to anyone who is trying to slip vegetables into the diet of their kids. It was the best pizza I had ever had, and my husband told me, "Make this whenever you want." I think this will become a weekly tradition at my house. I added pepperoni and shredded cheese to the top of the crust, and it was superb. I will experiment more each time I make it and let you know how it turns out.
   While I was making that I thought about the colors of the veggies, green,  yellow, and orange (almost a stoplight). Those would be fun veggies for kabobs!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's for dinner? (12-12-10)

    Tonight I made a pasta primarvera. I changed the recipe a bit, left out the onion, bell pepper and cayenne pepper since I didn't have them. I used two garlic cloves instead of one, I used chicken sausage, and added fresh green beans. I also used both zucchini and summer squash and added a little bit of cheese for some extra zip. It was super yummy. It took about a half hour to prepare. Since my family likes our veggies very soft I cut those up first and started them cooking before I put the water on to boil and cut up that sausage.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What's for dinner? (12-10-10)

    I think that my son has a vegetable detector in his brain that makes it impossible for me to get anything past him. I made meatloaf tonight (1 lb. of beef, 3 slices of whole grain bread crushed up, and some leftover carrots from another dinner) and I thought for sure this would be the time Maxwell would finally be tricked into eating veggies. He has never refused to eat meatloaf before, in fact he usually has seconds. Alas, I was thwarted again. It took five minutes prep, one hour in the oven. I served it with potato chips. (I know, could have been healthier there, I went for quick and easy.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Free knitting pattern: Star of David

    I was looking at a site for Christmas ornaments to knit small gifts to bring in to my coworkers and I found a pattern for a six-pointed star. I tried it, but found it to be very confusing. So, I decided to come up with my own pattern.
   Here it goes - my first published knitting pattern. Please do not reproduce without my permission. Feel free, however, to knit as many as you like for any purpose you like.

CO 21 stitches
Rows 1-7 k1, k2tog, k to end - 14 stitches
Rows 8-14 k1, k1fb, k to end - 21 stitches
Row 15 BO first 6 stitches, k8, BO last 6 stitches
Cut off end of yarn leaving a tail to weave in
As you would with switching colors start where you left off the 8 stitches.
Row 16-21 k1, k2tog, k to end
Row 22 k2tog

Pick up 8 stitches in the center of the CO row and repeat rows 16-22.

Weave in ends.

I will add a picture once I get my camera working.

What's for dinner? (12-9-10)

    Tonight we went to a potluck dinner. We brought asparagus. I coated it in olive oil, sprinkled black pepper and garlic powder then topped each layer with parmesan cheese. Less than 5 minutes to prep, 20 minutes in the oven.
   I left the kids with the babysitter, a jar of pickles, oranges and nachos in the oven. 2 minutes to prep, 10 minutes in the oven.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What's for dinner? (12-8-10)

    Once again experimented and got a not so warm reaction. I made a smoothie to go with dinner, and added vegetables (red leaf lettuce, carrot and a few green beans), along with the juice, yogurt and fruit blend that I normally use. But, I overdid it. I drank mine, but it wasn't very good. I think that I should have not used whole carrot. All the recipes for juicing that I have seen online call for taking the pulp out, but I thought, hey, fiber. I was very impressed with how well my cheap blender did at making it very smooth. My mistake was when I made it I smelled it and since it smelled so good I added the second half of the carrot of which I had put in half. I guess that just made it too much.
   Anywho, we had breakfast for dinner tonight. I made a souffle of sorts. It was supposed to be a large omelet to share, but it was too thick to fold, so I just flipped it and melted cheese on top. While looking online to find a substitute for milk I found a great list of substitutions on (you'd think that they paid me to advertise, but I just find a lot of good stuff on there). Then I made half a bagel and sausage for each of us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting your kids to eat vegetables

I just found this great article on how to get your kids to eat vegetables.

Also, try this great recipe for pizza crust that is made with zucchini or summer squash. I found when I made it that halving the recipe and spreading it thinner made for a crisper crust, but it was good a bit thick as well.

What's for dinner? (12-7-10)

    Tonight we had honey mustard chicken, just honey and mustard in the frying pan with boneless skinless chicken thighs (we like dark meat). For a side I made spaghetti squash with Smart Balance, shredded cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar), with a little bit of cream cheese for creaminess. I wanted to make an alfredo sauce to go over it that I saw on, but I'm out of milk. I cooked the spaghetti squash in the microwave first for 15 minutes and then the whole concoction in the oven for another 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I am the only one that liked it. Everyone else ate just the chicken and then snacked after dinner :(
    Start to finish it all took me about forty five minutes, but I did have time to do other things while stuff was cooking.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's for dinner? (12-6-10)

    Tonight we had tacos. I got previously frozen lean ground beef, I had never heard of that before, 93% lean for the price of 80%! I cooked the ground beef and added taco seasoning. You can buy the packets, or make your own. There are plenty of recipes online. Also, a great way to save money on the seasoning is to find a store like my mother's store that sells spices in bulk. This way you are not paying for the packaging and you can buy only what you need. Hint: bring in your empty jars to refill. This way you know what you wanted to get, you save the bags, just don't forget to have them weigh the jars first so they can take that weight off and you're not paying for the jars!
    On the "buffet" of toppings we had refried beans, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. If I had more time I would have added a few veggies, but most likely I would have been the only one eating them. Many times I have corn with this meal. However, the jury is still out on whether or not that is a veggie or a starch.
    Time from stovetop to tabletop - 15 minutes!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ten ways to save money and the environment

I am hoping to have lists of ten ways to save money and the environment become a regular thing on my blog.  Every time I think of one I'll jot it down. If you have an idea, pass it on to me (don't worry I'll give you the credit). Whenever I get a list of ten I will post them. I can't wait to see all the fun ideas that come out of this!

1. Use plastic grocery bags as trash bags for the car and in any small trash cans (like the bathroom. This saves money on trash bags, keeps your car clean and saves you the expense of reusable grocery bags without the guilt. You could also donate your plastic grocery bags to stores, food shelves, libraries or other organizations that put things in bags for people.

2. Have small animals that eat hay? Buy a bale at a local farm instead of a tiny package at a feed store. It’s much cheaper, fresher and better for the environment.

3. If you ever get take out chinese food save the soup containers, meal containers and small sauce containers (these are great for packing salad dressing for meals to go).

4. I buy the store brand precut meat slices. This is cheaper than the meat at the deli and you get free food storage containers, dishwasher safe and recyclable if they break.

5. Make your own dog (or other pet) treats and toys. Avoid the package, the hype, the expense and they are much better for your pet. Here is a great site for homemade dog treats:

6. If you knit, check out your local thrift stores for cheap scarves, sweaters and other knit items that you can “recycle” into yarn for your next project. Much cheaper than buying skeins, a bit more work, but many times very worth it. (Scarves are the easiest.) Here is a great website that shows you how to do it: Be careful though, there are quite a few that I have run into that a knotted instead of knitted. If I get one of these I give up and use it as stuffing instead of trying to salvage the yarn. If it is only knotted on the end of the rows and not on each stitch, I have found that it isn’t too hard to get out. You just have to pull a little ahead of where you are at so you can slip your ball of yarn through.

7. Another way to get free plastic storage containers is to reuse cottage cheese containers, yogurt containers and such. At first I didn’t do this because I couldn’t see through them. Then, I had the brainstorm of writing on them with a dry erase marker so I know what is in them and keeping them in a specific place in the fridge so that I think to check.

8. Raise chickens. It’s inexpensive fun, and you get free eggs and free fertilizer. (I haven’t done this yet. I have to wait until my kids are old enough to help.)

9. Before buying anything, search online to see if you can find plans make it yourself, or brainstorm a way to do it. I was looking around for lampshades and then I thought... “I bet these wouldn’t be too hard to make.” I couldn’t find what I wanted for plans online, but I found a site that sells the metal parts. It isn’t too hard to cut fabric in an appropriate shape. (If you take apart a lampshade you already have you could even use it as a template.) Should be fun and easy!

10. Compost. If, like me, you pay by the pound to get rid of your trash this is a big money saver. If you garden this is a great way to get free fertilizer. I save my food scraps in an empty yogurt container until it’s full, then I bring them outside and dump them into a trash barrel that is buried in the ground with the bottom cut off and holes punched in it to let in air.

What's for dinner? (12-5-10)

    We did not go healthy for dinner tonight. We had Mac & Cheese (yummy) it was incredibly creamy. I found the recipe on I did make them with whole grain pasta, that counts for something right? Next time I will throw in some shredded zucchini or yellow squash to add some nutrition.  Then, I made meatballs without a recipe. I used 1 lb of ground chicken, 1 cup of italian style bread crumbs, 1 egg and 1 can of cream of chicken soup (no water). They held together okay, but they were pretty soft, so I think next time I will add half the can of soup to the meat and half I will pour into my electric frying pan to simmer the meatballs in. Also, I may try beef and beef gravy instead of the chicken.