Tuesday, August 31, 2010

At Home Organizing

I have been on a good roll organizing around the home past couple of weeks and trying to continue it so there probably won't be any recipes this week. lol

1. In the kitchen we added a black tv stand next to the white bookshelf. I was originally looking for a bench for under the window for our shoes but could not find one. I'm the only one I know that owns 2 tv stands but uses them for something else. lol
The 2 square baskets on the left are for shoes but it's temporary till I find something bigger. On the right the 2 slim baskets are for drawing and writing paper. The bottom 2 shelves are seasonal in the summer I thought a towel would come in handy and in the winter a good spot for slippers. On top we have been putting a few books but I think I'll make it the nature table or a place for those seasonal treasures.
The white bookcase has a basket for each child to put in what they are working on reading, writing or drawing.
2. Shoes shoes and more shoes. This pile is anything from boots, sandals dress shoes, fall shoes, sneakers. Where did they go in? In drawers in the basement.

These drawers fit in my basement just right under a pipe. It help keep all the shoes that are out of season or ones they will grow into in one place. There are even drawers for ballet footwear and soccer cleats and shin guards and ice skates. Comes in handy when one of the girls outgrows something and I can go down and see what we have.

This works well in the fall and spring when it snows unexpectedly and the boots are needed rather quickly. The same goes for sandals when the weather warms up unexpectedly.

3. One other thing I had to organize was my basket of fabric scraps and future sewing projects. It was overflowing so I upgraded to a bigger basket.

Actually I didn't really organize I just moved the pile to be dealt with another time. We all have those messy little secrets.

Monday, August 30, 2010


So excited this weekend was my anniversary and I got books that I couldn't wait to own Craft Hope, Falala Felt and a knitting magazine :))Last night I was just to tired out to do much else so I made some tea, gathered the most recent books and magazines stretched out on the couch next to the window while a cool breeze came in and did a little browsing while watching a movie. So many fun ideas to brainstorm!

1. Over the summer found The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia on clearance at Barnes & Noble. If it wasn't on clearance I can't say that I would run out and buy it. It has good diagrams for needlework and a few projects I'd like to try.

This embroidery would be neat on a denim bag.
The picture wouldn't come out clear on this one. It's a plain hat but someone did embroidery on a piece of ribbon then attached it the hat. How pretty for the spring and summer. It can be changed anytime and would be great for a lady or little girl.
I just love this Oriental picture it's a crosstich all in blue. Would be nice on a tray or in the middle of my kitchen table. Hoping to make this in the next 10 years! lol.
2. Is it ever too early to think about Christmas not the insane shopping but the crafting? I say no way it's never too early after looking at Falala Felt.

What a great way to use felt and wool with these projects. The kids were inspired to get ready and sew when they saw this book this morning
3. This magazine is neat Knit Simple Knitting Workshops the projects and information isn't intimidiating for someone like me who hasn't done a lot of knitting yet. Besides the hats and mittens these caught my eye.
I really like the short socks on the left.
Christmas ornaments that all of us can make :)
This afghan is just pretty and bold. The squares are triangles put together. This looks neat and easy because I can work on it while waiting at kids activities. It doesn't have to be pink the color can be changed.
4. To add to my crafting overload I have been browsing though the Webs catalog and Living Crafts Magazine. I may not get a chance to get them anytime soon but luckily there is no deadline. Right now I have my sights on Crochet Today. lol
Happy Crafty Monday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Just beet it and other vegetables

So far this summer I have had no luck with the beets in this family. I feel like it's the year of the beets. I have been getting them every week from the csa. Ok I have boiled them and tossed into salads. I like them with tomatoes or lettuce and mint with olive oil and salt. Nope for this family. I went with Lise's suggestion she left comment last week to try a puree or pickling. Her kids loved the puree with cucumbers. I agree it's refreshing. Not my kids.

I have tried just the beet leaves and the stems on pizza luckily I had 1 success. This is the only picture I have of the pizza while I was making it.

Beet Leaf Pizza
The recipe for this I just made up.
Wash and cut up the leaves and stems from the beets.
Slice 1 large tomato
Slice 1 small onion
Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Preheat oven 425 degrees. After the pizza dough is stretched out lay the tomatoes, sprinkle the onions and beet leaves and stems. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese. (When I make pizza I put the vegetables first then sprinkle with cheese. I don't why I do it but it's like a surprise inside.) Put in oven for about 20 minutes.

Beet puree
This is the beet puree that Lise recommended and a friend emailed to me. I'm the only one that enjoyed this, it's refreshing on hot day with sliced cucumbers.

Another pizza

I wanted to share another vegetable pizza idea. In the picture for the beet leaf pizza there is a square pyrex dish with sauteed vegetables that I made for dinner. It's 1 eggplant, 1 tomato, 1 zucchini, 1 green pepper, 1 garlic clove and 3-4 basil leaves. Slice all of the them put in a pan with 1-2 tablepoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes till vegetables are cooked and tender stirring once. I sometimes add in either 1 onion or scallions. It's good with a slice of bread or on pasta.

Well the next night I didn't want it to go to waste so I thought hmmm how about pizza? Gianfranco said it looked good when I prepared it so I did not add any cheese. I did add extra basil leaves. Cooked it in a preheated oven 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Everyone ate it up! Luckily I got 1 slice phew!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday's list

Happy Monday! Well we are finally getting some rain around here and we are finally inside for the next couple of days. Which is getting me in a baking mood but I have to hold off because the basement is getting tackled this week. After catching up with the house stuff a few items got checked off my list and a lot of online ordering was done. I'm finding that it's real drag to bring all 5 kids to run errands and shop. I don't want to start giving the impression this is all we are going to do and that anytime we need something we'll just buy it. True a lot of things do need to be bought but I think we have the most fun at the local thrift stores. We can always find more books some fabric and sometimes neat things.

For now I did as much as I could online so that there would be less running around this week.
  • Nail polish from Essie and Seche vite top coat and base coat because sometimes we all need a little pampering.
  • Signed up for a fall fruit csa so we will be getting apples, pears, grapes, plums and/or peaches. On soulemama's blog las year I saw an apple peeler and thought it would come in handy for making pies, crisps and jams. Actually saw on Tipnut that jams can be frozen. Sounds good to me since I'm avoiding canning.
  • Bought the Brannock shoe sizer because once again I got stuck on sizing when shopping for shoes on Zappos. I'm thinking going forward this may be the way to go size foot at home, shoe shop online and free shipping both ways :)
  • Ordered more stainless steel straws. We liked the stainless steel bendy ones but there was a request for just straight straws and I thought a couple of shorter ones would be handy for the younger 2 kids. It's neat because they are non disposable and environmentally friendly. They could make a really neat Christmas gift too.
  • A while ago I learned about homemade vanilla extract made from vanilla beans and vodka. I'm starting to run low on the store bought kind and figured now would be a good time to switch and make my own. Tasty for fall baking :) It could make a nice Christmas gift.
As usual I'm always on the look out for those recipes and really unique children's activities.

Added one item and books to my wish list.

  • Discovered seltzer water makers on soda stream and amazon. Sounds like it would be fun to make our own flavored seltzer water. I'm thinking of it as a family Christmas gift but I'll have to research it some more and see if it's worth it. I'm not a big fan of unnecessary kitchen appliances so I don't want to collect something that will collect dust and end up at a thrift store.
  • Falala Felt Saw this last Christmas and on the blogs lately.
  • New England Knits Hoping to make a sweater in the next year from this book.
  • Craft Hope This book has been on the blogs lately and it looks amazing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Food allergies on my mind and coleslaw

I'm always on the look out for recipes that are similar to what is out there at chain or family restaurants, specialty restaurants (like Chinese, Italian or Thai), small homemade eateries, the supermarket or wherever they sell food that looks good that our family member(s) with food allergies can never have. It's always cooked in this or next to that which is an allergy problem. There is never much available for options except for french fries. I'm not kidding it happens too often. Even if we do get lucky at an establishment the situation has to be explained no cross contamination for example I can't just pick out the nut or cheese or no that can't be cooked with butter or peanut oil or what's in the bread. Sometimes the server will bring out the package so I can read the ingredients. In the best of circumstances something can be specially made after the explaination. Usually I throw my hands up and don't bother going out too eat it's not worth the fuss or extensive research for one meal. It's a good thing I like to cook and bake because usually what happens is I can cook or bake that at home.

It doesn't seem fair to me that the kid(s) with the allergy is singled out at mealtime. Also that they get to watch this beautiful food passby that smells good but can't have any. Even the individuals we eat with have make sure hands and mouths are wiped to prevent cross contimanation during play time or kissing on the cheek.

Usually when a family finds out that a child has a food allergy the child is a baby or toddler. The parent learns about epi pens and reading labels and some resources. Sure it's overwhelming but then things change. If a family is lucky the child grows out of it and that's a huge weight that's been lifted. (It's happened with one of our kids.) But for some like myself I have little people that are no longer toddlers but older children and more food passed under their nose of how good it smells but can't have any. I almost miss the toddler and baby years because then it was less obvious in some situations.
Now it's obvious when eating out and at parties, family/friend functions how much more one kid can't have or try. It's disheartening to hear "That looks or smells good. I wish I could try that. I wish I could have cheese it looks good. Am I allergic to this?" That's why I'm always on the look out for recipes and how to take the main stream stuff that the rest us can have and make it allergy friendly and taste good.

Today's post was supposed to be about a coleslaw but I guess had to share what's been on my brain about food allergies in a growing family.

One of the recipes on my radar has been coleslaw. From time to time I find a coleslaw recipe that I like but it is never a hit with the whole family. I've tried them with vinegars & lemon and they were yummy and had no dairy or eggs. But my family really likes the KFC or Popeye's coleslaw which doesn't work for someone who has an egg and dairy allergy. The last recipe I tried seems to be as close as it's going to get to KFC and most of the family liked it. Its modified from Household Ways and tastes just like KFC's coleslaw. We used a Trader Joe's 1 % mayonaise because it has no eggs and soy milk. There is a veganaise out there without dairy or eggs. I should tell you that this does come out watery so you have to scoop it out with a spoon with holes. It may need to be modified again because of that but at least the taste is good.

Dairy-free and Egg-free Coleslaw
1 head of cabbage shredded
about 1/4 cup carrot shredded
2 Tab. minced red onion
1/2 mayonnaise (Trader Joe's reduced fat 1% or veganaise)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
2 1/2 tablespoon. lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 tea.spoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
In a blender or food processor chop coleslaw, carrots and onion till it's minced. This may need to be done in batches. In a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients and then pour over the cabbage. Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight. I make this in the morning for dinner. The flavor is really good the longer it sits but it will be watery because of the substitutions.

Enjoy as a side to a meal or just eat with a slice of bread :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday's List

I have been thinking lately I like to keep a lot of lists. Unfortunately with cooking, cleaning, kids and life I have developed a list disorder. What's a list disorder? Too many lists everywhere and some items are repeated on 2 or more lists and some items have been on the list for about a month. (All that will get sorted this week. I hope. )
What I do like about lists is it's a reminder of things to be completed, phone calls that need to be made, shopping, things I like, books I would like to read, patterns and projects, things I would like to further research, blog stuff and tons of other chores and neat stuff.
I love posts on Bluebirdbaby and Soulemama when they have list of things they love along with their links. It's like they did the research for me and I get to discover something new. Between the lists and their posts I decided to start a segment called Monday's List. It will be just a post of lists of information I find in life, online, on blogs or wherever. I should let you know it maybe every monday or every other week and when life gets carried away Monday's list could be on Tuesday. lol

So here goes today.

Favorite blog posts from last week:

  • Glad I'm not the only one suffering from a craft addiction of uncompleted projects. There are others out there Crunchy Chicken is one of them.

  • I think this lady was eavesdropping on my conversation about how I can't get anything done sometimes.

  • This dress brought back fun memories from when I was a kid :)

  • I don't have any babies anymore but these burp clothes are just so sweet and would make a nice baby gift..

  • Ok this art stand is just so cool.

  • Signed Jamie Oliver's Petition

  • Learned something new about tsmanian devils

  • I really want to crochet thes fruity pot holders. This will also add to my craft addiction.

  • Felt food! I'm putting this in one of my journals for a cold snowy day this winter.

Recipes for the Recipe Binder to make dairy free, egg free and nut free:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 things today

I was origanally going to call this post "on my night stand" but then I saw Amanda's post today about 10 things. Thought what would my 10 things be?

1. Deciding to unschool my kids :))) I know have happy happy kids.
2. Watching the kids make up their own soccer game. (Might be a friday moment tomorrow.)
3. Try to remember to include the kids in food prep.
4. Working together to make more room in the playroom/ reading room yes it may be a chore but we actually had some fun.
5. Splashing in the pool with my kids and having a race.
6. Enjoyed the kids celebration yesterday.
7. Figuring out a bandana quilt for us lie on outside.
8. Deciding on the next book and reading magazines for some mama time.
9. Pureeing the beets today. Hoping for better luck this week with beets.
10. Getting 1 more thing off the to do list for that ahhh feeling tonight.

Follow up on #8 what is on my night stand?

I haven't decided on which book to start next but I'm a little nervous about starting a good book because I won't be able to put it down and then I'll get nothing done. haha

Loved to hear what summer reads you're enjoying?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wednesday CSA

I was hoping this summer that I would pick up my csa vegetables on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday night or Wednesday I would make something with them and post pictures on Wednesday or Thursday. It's already August and that definitely hasn't happened. Well it's never too late.

1. Potato and Leek Soup
I've always wanted to try potato and leek soup but never made the effort until last night. In the box were potatoes, leeks and the recipe. It couldn't get any easier it was all handed to me so there was no excuse. This version was adapted from a Julia Child recipe and to puree it was optional. I think next time I won't puree it but flavor the water so it's more of a broth. I can see craving this in the winter. We omitted the sour cream and heavy cream
Potato and Leek Soup by Julia Child
4 cups of sliced leeks, white part only
4 cups of diced potatoes
6 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of sour cream or heavy cream (optional)
1 tablespoon chives or parsley minced
Bring the leeks, potatoes and water to a boil in a saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially and simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Pureeing is optional. Season to taste. Top with sour cream and chives or parsley.
2. Italian Sauteed Zucchini

This recipe is something that's just been on my family or friends tables in the summer.

Italian Sauteed Zucchini

1-2 zucchini diced

1 onion diced

1 small tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced

3-4 basil leaves

salt & pepper

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes till zucchini is tender and onions are clear. Toss once gently so it does not stick to the pan.

This makes a great side with chicken and rice, it can be served over pasta with parmesan cheese, or makes a great calzone with a little mozzarella cheese. The only thing missing was some fresh bread to go with this and a slice of cheese and that alone would be a tasty meal.

3. Beets, beets and more beets. That's one vegetable that has not grown on this family this summer. It's still a work in progress. I'm going to try again tonight either roast them or make them for a salad. My mother used the beet leaves in calzone. I'll see about giving that a try for lunch. Hoping today for a better day for these beets.

I'd love to hear what you're making or if you have any suggestions for the beets :)

Vegetable side dishes

One of my favorite things about summer are all the beautiful vegetables and sweet fruits. Whether it's a csa, farmer's market or a farm stand the vegetables seem endless with so many possibilites. I have a feeling this winter is going to be especially hard almost like a fresh vegetable withdrawal. I'm not much of a canner that's why I have been doing a lot of dicing and freezing. The freezer is my best friend right now.
For now we are going to enjoy the fresh vegetables on side.
Green Bean Salad
Steamed green beans
Handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
2-3 basil leaves
salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve. I usually refridgerate this ahead of time it tastes even better.
Italian Potato Salad
Potaotoes boiled, peeled and diced
3-4 mint leaves
1/4 cup or less of Pepper rings or Pastene Pepperoncini
salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
After the potatoes are cooked let them cool down completely before peeling. If they are peeled too soon the potatoes get mushy but still taste good. In a bowl toss all the ingredients together. Serve immediately or refridgerate for later.
When I was a child I didn't like any potatoes and now this is one of the salads I really like. Even the kids look forward to it. I also used to think that this was the right way to eat potato salad. I never understood why there was mayo in the potato salad and why it was so creamy whenever I went to barbecues or other people's houses. lol.
Random ::
A friend was kind enough to share some very sweet peaches which we all really appreciate so today I think there will be some peeling, dicing and freezing. The frozen peaches are great for later on for fruit crisps, peach muffins, smoothies or mixed with berries and served over pancakes. Yummy winter treats.

Monday, August 9, 2010

home stuff, to do lists & shopping

I started out thinking I would write a post about yet another recipe but I think I'll save recipes for tomorrow. There has been a lot to do lately that even my to do lists have gotten untidy and completely out of hand. I guess it's been more of a juggling act lately and my arms are sore.

Many people when I'm out usually comment "I don't how do you do it?" Well the truth is I don't know either. The juggling part comes in handy with the day to day stuff laundry, dishes, cleaning and cooking. We have made some good switches to the natural laundry detergent and all natural dishwasher detergent. (Ok even as I write this I heard glass breaking. Everyone ok?Yup. There is broken glass in a very messy art studio. Oh great now that means I really do have to clean theart studio this week. Ok now back to blogging.) The natural dishwasher detergent is a recipe I found online I just don't remember from which blog. This is not my own recipe it's from someone else.

Home made Dishwasher Detergent

1/2 cup liquid castille soap

1/2 cup water

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

3 drops tea tree oil

1/4 cup white vinegar

Mix all the ingreadients and keep in a jar.

A note on this I don't know what I was thinking when I mixed this but I used peppermint liquid castille soap. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it. I don't buy the almond because of nut allergies so I must have picked up pepperment. Oh well it sure does smell nice in my kitchen when the dishwasher is running.

As for the day to day to day stuff I'm slowly getting a handle of this in our new space but the throw in a major project and clean up and well then it's not so easy. I sure could use some help but that is no magic fairy. So that's where the clipboards, to do lists and online shopping come in handy.

Home To Do List :

  • Dice fresh tomatoes, lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze. After they freeze put them in bag in the freezer for winter for soups and recipes. After last winter I decided we're not buying tomatoes out of season. They were unusually awful last year.

  • Dice some of the celery and carrots and lay on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then transfer to a bag. Save these in the freezer for the winter for sauteeing and soups.

  • Clean some of the celery and carrots but do not chop lay them on a cookie sheet freeze and then transfer to a bag. Freeze for the winter. Great vegetable stock and chicken soup.
  • Keep refining the stuffed vegetable recipe. (I'll share that soon it's too long of a recipe.)

  • Regrow the celery root for kids science experiment. Starting to look good hmmm... maybe more celery to freeze.

  • Make more lemon/lime granita (I'll share that recipe soon. I heard it was good none was left for me.)

  • Order the recycling bin. Still waiting

  • Organize 1 more closet. A while ago I was trying to figure out how to organize the kids closets and thought those size markers that we see at the store would come in handy. I asked some one at the store where I could more and they said to google retail supply and sure enough found them. I found the round size dividers and the oblong size dividers. I still haven't purchesed them because I don't know how many and which ones I need. What's also nice you can get blanks without numbers and label them yourself. On the website the size dividers are under hanger accessories.

Online To Do Lists:

  • Update my KartMe lists. The website is versatile for any kind of list you need. I keep a running list of things I need to purchase this month and a Christimas list.
  • Buy a kids shoe sizer. A friend and I were talking about shoe shopping with kids. She tends to do a lot of shoe shopping online and I sometimes I get a phone call from someone about a good find and they ask what size is ...? Well why not a have one of those metal shoe sizer at home. Remember those well they haven't changed and could come in handy before going out to shoe shop or ordering online.

  • Looking into buying a composte bin.
The For Me list:

  • Crochet 1 scarf

  • Decide on the next book to read

  • Figure out the bandana quilt (I'll explain later.)

  • Treat myself to new plants for the front porch. (So cheery looking.)

  • Yippie new Green Craft Magazine is in. I love this magazine even if this adds to my Crafting ADD.

What's on your to do list?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Breakfast Smoothie

I didn't want to include this with the sock addiction post but I wanted to share this morning's smoothie.
1-2 cups chopped cantelope
1/4 cup blueberries
1 peach peeled and sliced
1 apple peeled and sliced
1 banana
Blend till smooth and enjoy the boost!

Sock Addiction

There has been a lot of sock sewing activity. And I mean a lot. A friend discovered this book Sock Appeal and it's the favorite book this summer. There have been daily sewing sessions and lots of creatures. The older ones taught the younger two how to thread a needle and sew. It's been fun to watch the creation of the new critters that become their favorite lovies to snuggle with.
We had to buy a lot of socks so we went off to the dollar store to stock up. The funny thing is I went with all 5 kids to the store. The owners were very friendly and enjoyed watching my family buy all these socks probably thinking we were were stocking up for the fall. I just didn't have the heart to tell them all these sock were going to be cut up for sewing.
What do the kids with the round scraps from the top of the socks?
We did try the silly bands for a short while but these seem to be way cooler and more original.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...