Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random thoughts

The Christmas holiday is over and so is the hustle and bustle. Sadly the holiday itself went too quickly. Hope was given up on making lots of homeade gifts but that's ok better planning next year. So it became the year of the pizzelles gave a light sweet treat in the shape of a snowflake. With all the bustle also forgot to take pictures of how they are made...ooops!

Well for now I can at least give the random recipes that we had a couple of weeks ago.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
The crystallized ginger was well worth it! This recipe is from A Homemade Life but the recipe called for eggs and yogurt which I substituted and hoped for the best. For the eggs I did the baking soda mixture and for the yogurt I used 1/4 cup soy milk mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar. Banana bread just got better even with a few ingredient modifications.
Granola modified once again
This recipe I got from Wendy's blog because I wanted to try to make my own granola. Again a few ingredient modifications no nuts for this family and no one would be crazy for dried cranberries sooo... instead of mixing the oats with something healthy I mixed in some dairy free chocolate chips, I then followed the directions for the mixture and poured it over the oats and chocolate chips. Soon realized I mixed melted chocolate chips into the oats. Uh oh...well then I baked them for a total of 10-15 minutes because I used the quick cooking oats. With that many recipe modifications I wasn't sure what this would taste like. Sure enough another hit for this family.
Actually I made 2 batches one was the dairy free chocolate chips and the other was vanilla chips. Next time I'm thinking sunflower seeds and raisins. Goodbye quaker oats granola bars for a while.
Cauliflower not mac n' cheese
This recipe was from the last issue of Kiwi it suggested instead of using pasta when making mac n cheese use cauliflower. My caulflower in the cheese looked watery and bland not too appealing to me soooo.... what did I do? I seasoned it with Mrs. Dash (use whatever you like) and then mixed with white rice. Much more appealing and tasty!
Well that's the end of today's random thoughts. Looking forward to another very cold and short nature walk into the woods with the kids in search of branches.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Behind on Blogging

Ok maybe way behind on blogging. Just run down lately. Got sidetracked from any crafting or reading. Then tried to fight a cold but unfortunatley the whole family has had a cough, sneeze, runny nose, etc. Well at least it wasn't the flu. In between there have been school celebrating the arts for 2 of the kids and making many many pizzelles. I guess we could call it the year of the pizzelle.

Once school finished ran errands before the snowhit New England. Actually went shopping last weekend at a mall! Not Christmas shopping (thank goodness) just need some mom time with the 2 older kids. Very nice. But I was amused by the craziness. I held back many comments people throwing toys and "stuff" in their cart. I actually feel sorry for a little boy out there who is going to receive a shiney battery operated noisy robot that will eventually be thrown in a corner without thought not long after Christmas.

I think the most pleasant experiences have been at home watching the small moments, lots of science experiments and many water color pictures drying at the table.

I will return the beginning of next week in hopes of having pictures to show and random recipes.
I wish each of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or a warm Winter Solstace!
May your celebrations be filled with laughter, good conversation, tradition (old or new) and of course good food with loved ones.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Been Baking

Already halfway through the week and a bit run down. Fending off a cold with echinacea while making pizzelles for Christmas gifts. I'll be back at the end of the week with this week's random recipes and if I'm lucky crafting progress.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Luisa's Winter Soup

This weekend when I went grocery shopping I bought a 6lb package of beef. Now that's way too much meat even for a family of 7. So what to do? I took a friend's advice and followed what she does cook it all and freeze for later meals. So I rolled 3 trays of mini meatballs and cooked them in the oven. One tray was for Tuesday night's dinner. I served the meatballs with white rice and made tomato sauce on the side for dipping. Some had the meatballs in a sub roll drizzled with tomato sauce.

Now even though I used only 1 tray we still had leftovers for the Wednesday night. Since there has been some coughing around here and there has been word of soar throats I thought soup is needed. I took all the leftovers and a couple of vegetables and came up with this:
Luisa's Winter Soup
2 - 32 oz boxes of Swanson no msg chicken broth
4 cups water
cooked white rice
handful of chopped baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup tomato sauce
precooked mini meatballs
taco flavored shredded chedder cheese for topping
In a pot add broth, water, chopped carrots, chopped spinach and sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until carrots soften and spinach wilts about 5-8 minutes. Once vegetables are cooked add meatballs and rice and cook for a few minutes to warm up. Serve hot and sprinkle with cheese.

Luisa's Winter Soup Tips: Most of these ingredients are pre-made because they are leftovers. It's hearty and warm and good for colds. For my vegetarian friends skip the meatballs and use vegetable broth. I don't make a very good homeade chicken broth that's why I use the store bought. To make it allergy friendly use your favorite meatball recipe and omit the cheese for topping it's still tasty. Feel to use this recipe in your kitchen and make the necessary variations adding or taking what you like to bring a little bowl of warm soup to your table.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm not quite ready to be swallowed up by winter but the snow is here. New England weather got a little confused last week with one day of 57 degrees then a few days later snow. It's been nice weather for crochetting and reading and planning the holiday baking. What to do while making my holiday plans? Look to the scarves for motivation.

No I didin't make these. They were gifts from my aunt in Italy of course she probably whipped up all 6 in a week probably. She even made the pom poms! I'm determined to figure out how. My mom suggested we should just send for her to come and stay for month so I can learn everything. Wonder if she has time to drop everything for me? :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wanted: rest time

Just in need of some rest. I will pop in next week. Happy weekend finally!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Corner Cleaned Up

This one corner alone took about a week to clean up. Once it was empty a new book case was put in which led to phase 2. Over Thanksgiving break the books were pulled off the shelves, scanned onto librarything, then put all 628 books in my room to be sorted and shelved. Labelled the books while scanning so we know which ones were scanned thanks to a friends recommendation. I also labelled the shelves by category so we all know what goes where. It's a good check for me when I'm cleaning up. Even Melania at 18 months has a bottom row of books for herself to go through.

Now just tired....zzzzz.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

Handy tips

Wanted to share some handy tips that I recorded in my journal from Kiwi December 2009 issue.

  • p. 12 Use a natural brush to brush the skin in a circular motion before taking a shower. Stimulates and exfoliates skin.

  • p. 19 For a better nights sleep mix lavender essential oil and water in spray bottle then mist the pillows. (My first thought was can I just carry around a bottle to spray myself to destress on those "challenging days")

  • p.19 Rub diluted pepperment in oil on temples to ease tension and headaches. (If you are a mom no comment needed as to why and how much we need this.)

  • p.22 Cold weather veggies: roast brussell sprouts in oven, make kale chips in the oven, for mac n' cheese substitute cauliflower for the pasta. (Some nice twists on food I'm thinking for the next grocery list.)

  • p. 43 Make your own organic fruit and veggie wash in a spray bottle. The article recommended it as Christmas gift along with the recipe.

  • p. 45 "Herbal Helpers" to keep on hand this winter to help mom's. Eucalyptus essential oil for chest congestion. Peppermint oil for nose and chest. Slippery elm bark for throats. Echinacea for reduce cold and flu symptoms. Elderberry syrup to support the immune system according to Jessie Hawkins author of The Handbook of Vintage Remedies. (I'm curious about this book)

  • p.61 "Silly Sweet Popcorn" It's popcorn tossed with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Sounds like a nice snack.

I thought this would make for some handy homeade tips. Sorry if I was vague on some of the information but I didn't know how much I could rewrite without crossing a line. Hope it sparked your interest. If you have any homeade remedies that you swear by p;ease feel free to share I would love to read them on the comments.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend

I hope everyone has had a nice Thanksgiving filled with good food, good conversation and many other blessings and maybe even some crochetting. Since I was in charge of the baking my mom cooked which was nice. After dinner I finally finished crochetting the shoulder strap and drawstring for the bag I have been working on to carry around my next project. I pretty much made up the design for this bag so I'm not sure how sturdy the shoulder strap is going to be. Good thing yarn isn't heavy.
While at my mom's we went through her stash of doillies that her mother-in-law made her. I brought them home for some inspiration and memory keepsakes.

I hope that I can somehow replicate some of these designs to make Christmas snowflakes for the tree. But for now we're taking it slow this weekend and enjoying some leftovers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trying my friend's dairy-free, egg-free pumpkin pie recipe. Hopefully it will pass family inspection.
I think it's a yes with the last slice left for me. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Art Fun

Satuday afternoon art break. We really enjoyed sketching and doing some watercolor. I couldn't resist so I also joined in to do some watercolor and dove in with my sketch journal. Most people I talk to remember that art was one of their favorite classes. Well why not have art at home?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Week's End

Well hefty week is over and now ready to begin a slightly hefty weekend of cleaning and laundry. I have even resorted to paper plates this past week. (It's temporary for the paper plates.)

While waiting this past week during one of the kids activities I thought of a way to use up this yarn. Crochet a bag so I have something to carry around my knitting. It is one of the only ways I could help get rid this yarn I have no love for.

Besides those canvas bags are not getting done any time soon. I'm thinking they will become December possibilities.Happy weekend from This Little Kitchen to yours!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blog Break

Just wanted to drop a hello while I check out a couple of blogs. Hefty week is almost over but still more work to be done in the corner.

My husband asked how things were going yesterday. I said fine but I could use a wife. I needed extra hands to help me out. He said I needed a mid wife. You know someone I could call if I can't finish a job right way well call a mid wife. Or when some children need to be picked during a nap time well call a mid wife. I said maybe we should find another name to call this woman because I don't want to insult the midwives out there who are doing something really special.

I guess sometimes we could all use another woman's help when we are short on patience or hands, get interrupted numerous times while trying to complete a task or simply outnumbered by kids.

But for now I'm happy to settle down after a long day with a slice of lemon cake and a slice of pumpkin spice cake.

This is the golden cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World but I made them into cakes instead of cupcakes. For one I substituted the vanilla extract with lemon extract. For the pumpkin I added several tablespoons of canned pumpkin and added pumpkin spice.

Hopefully another fall favorite around here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cleaning Corner

Well friends a new week begins and there is much to do around here. I'm looking at a full schedule this week so I will be off for most of the week. I'll drop in at the end of the week hopefully and with any luck I will have made some progress on one of the November possibilities.
It's to clean out this corner to make space for all our treasured books.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Journal Page

Well we are already well into November and I forgot to write my month in review. It started about a year ago when I was writing in my journal and I thought to myself what is it I do again? Yup I cook, clean, laundry, do lots of dishes and change never ending diapers. So what else do moms do? I thought well why not keep track of what that is in my journal. Around January I made a list of what I'd like to accomplish this year but then it just seemed like another New Year's resolution. So what I came up with is A Month in Review. At the beginning of each month I write a list of Accomplishments and a list of Possiblities. The accomplishments are things that I completed the previous month. The list of Possibilities are things I would like to have completed during the up coming month.

Example of Month in Review for November
-Started sewing-made Halloween skirts
-Tuned up the sewing machine
-Maintained blog...
-Finsih canvas bag
-Crochet a baby blanket...

Why do this? Because I think for any of us it's easy to see the pile that's not cleaned up, something is not sorted or a project still waiting. Well if the messes are so obvious why not make the accomplishments even more obvious. It's a gentle reminder of things I have completed or learned. Sometimes there are unexpected accomplishments which is nice. Other times like last month I made a list of possibilites that was too ambitious and absolutely knew it would never be completed. Doing this Month in Review keeps me in check of things that I actually did complete and feel good about even if there is a pile that remains.

Happy Weedkend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thrifty Find

I found this at a tag sale yesterday and I really like the print on this skirt. But I have a different vision. I see cutting it up into squares for a summer quilt for the beach. I plan on making a quilt for the beach hopefully in the next 1-2 years. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


One of my newest craft addictions has been to make my own doilies. I really like them and just want a bunch on hand to stictch on to scarves, bags or something. I'm thinking about them in white to make small ones for the Christmas tree.
The thing is I think it's crazy for me to buy them. I just can't bring myself to do it. Doilies remind me of one of my grandmother who came to visit from Italy when I was a child. She stayed with us for sometime and what I remember most is that she was always mending and always crochetting doilies. My brother and I stayed near by but were not interested in the process until it was done and we saw she made for us. I thought it was something that old people did to pass the time like knitting. :) I thought to myself when I get old I'll learn to do that. I'll move the silver stick with the the thin yarn and make something. Well the day has come and I don't think 34 is old . In fact I think I'm still young enough to learn to do this and learn how to knit. I sure wish my grandmother was alive to show me the ropes. I am even hoping for one of my aunts to come help me, but I doubt she is will to take a trip across the Atlantic to show me how to crochet and sew my own clothes. So I'll settle for what she sent me instead.
The one on the right is what my aunt sent me and the one on the left is what I worked on Thursday night during Grey"s Anatomy. Now I tried to copy it but it just is not looking the same. Although I am enjoying crochetting in circles.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Enjoying the past few days of beautiful fall weather here in New England.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today's Fun Finds

Ok is it wrong to post twice in one day? I say no way. Just couldn't wait to show you our fun finds from today's yard sale.

Where the Wild Things Are, The Polar Express, Happy School Year, Goldilocks, The Paper Bag Princess, Happy Thanksgiving Biscuit. We were lucky to meet the illustrater of Happy School Year and Goldilocks. The kids were excited about these books.

All this yarn for $5! I know some may think why buy someone's leftover yarn? Well lately I had ideas about what kind of yarn and how much I need for a couple of crochetting and knitting projects. So when I was digging through this bag and found more than I needed I looked at it and said I know what to do with each of you.

Today felt really good to be out with just the 3 oldest talking, yard sailing, look at artwork from local artists and having lunch together at a fast food place. What was nice about all these finds is that someone was getting rid of these and there I was ready to pick them up along with a few other items. What I hope to show my kids is yes we can buy new things but we can also buy old and recycle which saves the planet. I'm new to this concept recycle and reuse. I have been doing it about a year now going to thrift stores and yard sales. It was a little hard at first and some things I still buy new. It seems lately there has been less new and more recycle.

"Waste not, want not."

Now off to make my kind of homemade chicken soup (the broth is from a can) and laundry.

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