Posts tagged ‘food’

September 21, 2012

Corny!

I love saving summer sweet corn for use in the long winter months!  Cutting corn off the cob can be tricky, messy and dangerous, but years ago my grandma gave me a genius tip that takes care of all that.  Grab yourself some blanched sweet corn {put ears of corn in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, then immediately put it into ice water to cool} and an angel food cake pan and take a look at this video!

Advertisements
Tags: , ,
September 18, 2012

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’d love to show you a photo of my scrumptious zucchini chocolate chip muffins, but they never last long enough to capture on film!  But, trust me, you’re going to want to keep track of this recipe!  Every time I make them, my kids smother me with hugs and kisses and tell me I’m the best mom ever.  Not even kidding!  They love these things that much.

This year I haven’t gotten any zucchini from my garden.  Nope, not. a. single. one.  Major {un}perfect fail!  Still not sure what the problem was.  Luckily I had some generous friends who were willing to share a few of their billy club sized green monsters, which I immediately shredded and froze for future muffin-making.

When I make these, I always double the recipe so I end up with at least 4 dozen.  I freeze about half of them and *try* to forget about them so that we don’t finish all 48 within the week.  Sometimes I make the double batch with half  shredded zucchini and half mashed bananas.  SO GOOD!  And, without further ado…the recipe!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 24 muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil {or substitute unsweetened apple sauce}
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Combine dry ingredients {flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon & salt} in a medium bowl
  2. In a separate bowl mix eggs, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until moistened
  4. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips
  5. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
  7. Try not to burn yourself sneaking a taste of these babies straight out of the oven

**You can thank me later** 🙂

Tags: ,
June 6, 2011

Gardening Edition: Pruning your tomato plants

At best, I’m a gardening rookie; a novice; a wanna-be.  I’m trying to always learn new stuff, but I’ve never been a great studier, so I get overwhelmed learning too much at once.  That’s why a recent “field trip” was perfect for me!  The kids and I went with my mom to her friend C.P.’s  house – she has many, many chickens and huge gardens.  That morning C.P. and her husband had planted 150 tomato plants in their garden…and still had a TON of plants {that they had grown under grow lights in their basement} that they were now selling off.  I was excited to try some of their many varieties like green sausage, black krim, black plum, 2 kinds of romas, big beef hybrid, yellow pear, large red cherry, delicious, gardener’s delight, triple crop climber {the plant can grow 10-25 FEET tall and grows tomatoes as big as your face!}, and one other that I can’t remember right now.  While picking out my tomatoes, C.P. gave me a quick lesson in pruning tomato plants.  Pruning?  Who knew??  Anyway, whenever you see a little leaf shooting out of the crook like this:

{Sucker!}

you need to pick off the “sucker branch” below it.  The sucker will not bear fruit and will essentiall suck all the nutrients from the fruit-bearing “branches”.  Don’t want that now, do we?

{pick that sucker}

I did this with all my tomato plants.  At first they looked tall, skinny, and funny. 

{A little topheavy...}

 But have no fear!  Those fruit-bearing “branches” will grow and fill out.  And the best part is, you’ll get lots of tomatoes!

{filling out nicely}

 Maybe this is all Gardening 101, but I grew several tomato plants {semi-successfully} last season without having a clue about pruning them.  Now I’m hoping for a large crop that’ll give me plenty to can and make salsa with.  I saw the first sign of produce progress with some bright yellow blossoms today – yay!

{I see lycopene in my future}

 And, just for fun, here are a few other photos from the garden…

{my newly constructed pea trellis}

{emerging fiesta - black beans!}{tiny little carrot sprouts}{doesn't look much like spinach yet, does it?}{itty bitty bells - peppers, that is}

Posted in My {un}Perfect Garden | 1 Comment »

Tags: , , ,
February 20, 2011

Sometimes I forget

This afternoon/evening, the boys are away, so it’s just A and me for dinner.  While at D&W, the cute little sushi rolls were calling to me.  A is such a great eater and will try most anything, so I asked if she was up for trying sushi and egg rolls for dinner.  As usual, she was game.  I bought the smallest “snack pack” I could find.  It had 4 each of avocado, cucumber, carrot and {imitation} crab.  Nothing too scary. 

{cute little snack pack. we'll just ignore the spicy stuff in front there}

Miss A tried the crab roll first and loved it.  She loved the avocado one, too.  Cucumber and carrot not so much.  I’m proud of her for giving it a shot–I even told her about the seaweed! 

{A gives her crab snack roll a thumb's up!}

Enter the {un}perfection… while I think little sushi rolls are super cute, and I love all the ingredients, the seaweed smell really grosses me out.  If I shove the whole thing in my mouth really quickly I’m ok, but if I linger too long or take more lady-like bite, I have to choke it down.  And sometimes I forget that.

Posted in {un}Perfect Food, {un}Perfect People | Leave a Comment »

Tags: , , , ,
February 20, 2011

Grande Chemically Processed Latte, please

I *love* coffee.  That’s one of my favorite things about winter–warming up with some yummy creamy coffee.  Caramel is my absolute fave, but I’m open to other flavors, too.  A few days ago I came across a post on Deliciously Organic where Carrie posted recipes for coffee creamer withOUT using processed ingredients.  I’m not hugely concerned about that, but I’m gradually coming around to seeing the benefits of sticking with natural {and sometimes organic} foods.  We’ve switched almost exclusively to organic free-range locally farmed eggs, we’re growing our vegetable garden without chemical fertilizers, our beef comes from grass-fed locally raised cows, same with our pork.  And I just recently discovered a source for organic free-range chicken.  When I can afford it, and when it makes sense I’m going natural/organic.  So when I came across these creamer recipes {and I have to admit, I go through the creamer!!} and was reminded that most creamers are full of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, I thought I’d give it a shot.  I love homemade things as long as it’s not too tricky and these recipes looks pretty darn simple! 

Little Miss A and I stopped at the store on the way home from church today {while the Hubs and Mr. M headed to the in-laws’ for the afternoon} and I picked up the ingredients I needed to make the caramel creamer.  Good thing we did–in the last 4 hours we’ve gotten over 6″ of snow…and sleet and freezing rain is in the forecast in the next few hours.  Faaaaaannnntastic.  {sarcasm dripping}  At least I’ll be able to cozy up with my girl, some movies and a hot cup of creamy caramelly coffee goodness! 

Here it is, friends:

CARAMEL CREAMER

The caramel recipe makes twice what you need for the coffee creamer recipe. You can store the caramel in the fridge to use for another coffee creamer recipe or use it to drizzle over ice cream. Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Caramel:
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
5 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream {I used half & half to make it a little lighter}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

{Not the cheapest option, but more natural and has a great rich flavor}

Put the cane sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until mixture reaches 240ºF. {I don’t have a candy thermometer, just a meat thermometer that only goes up to 200º so I heated it about a minute or so after it hit 200º} Remove from heat and whisk in cream and vanilla. Cool.

Creamer:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk {again, I used 2 cups half & half, instead of buying cream AND milk}
1/2 cup homemade caramel

Whisk together cream, milk and caramel in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to steam, remove from the heat. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. {I didn’t have a glass bottle, so I poured it into a canning jar.  Umm…maybe I’m not that coordinated, but it made a mess when I poured it!  So I poured it back into the half & half container since it had a screw on cap.  I had a small amount that didn’t fit, so I put it into another container and sent A across the street to share it with K.N. 🙂 } 

{mason jar = cute for photo = not at all practical for pouring}

{yummmmmm...}

 For more great organic/all-natural creamer {and other} recipes, check out what Carrie has over at Deliciously Organic!

Posted in {un}Perfect Food | 6 Comments »

Tags: , , ,
February 15, 2011

Love is in the air!

The Hubs is one of those who thinks Valentine’s Day is a lame Hallmark holiday, but he “celebrates” it to appease me {what a guy}.  This year {in the spirit of lowering my expectations}, I decided to try a few things with the kids to make it a day of celebrating love in a FUN way!  I think we all had a good time, it was special, and it didn’t cost much at all.

Miss A and I started our celebration a little early on Sunday afternoon with custom heart-felt manicures.  A wanted red, pink AND fuchsia {why not?}, so we alternated the colors, then topped them off with hearts drawn on with a nail art pen.  I painted my nails fuchsia and did 1 heart on my thumb 🙂

{I ❤ this manicure}

 Monday morning I had a special breakfast for the kids: Jell-O jigglers! {I know, I don’t usually share the kids’ names, but I wanted to show the Jell-O 🙂 }

Of course, in my true {un}perfect impulsive way, I decided to make the jigglers the night before and had to use what I had on hand.  Jigglers take 4 boxes.  I had 2 Grape, 1 sugar-free Strawberry and 1 sugar-free Raspberry.  Made for an interesting flavor…

{darn his long name and our little plates!}

{He said, "Yum! I wuv Jeww-O! Hey, how did the Jeww-O know my name??"}

I love making treat bags for the kids’ holiday parties–this one was no exception.  And because my kids LOVE them, I slaved and included some pretty cute cake pops.

{another pic because they're just so cute!}

{my little heart breaker}

{A's teacher painted hearts on the kids' faces--so cute!}

Regrettably, I didn’t get a pic with The Hubs, but honestly, neither of us was looking too hot that morning.  He did, however give me a nice card and a certificate for a mani/pedi/massage.  Ahhh…can’t wait!    I, being equally sweet, gave him this:

{card by upupcreative.com}

That evening I spent a romantic evening with some of my girls, watching the Bachelor.  I made these bad boys especially for them! 

{chocolate cake pops made with chocolate frosting and chocolate candy coating--for my chocolate loving Valentines!}

{C.Y., J.J., K.N.}

Posted in {un}Perfect People, {un}Perfect Projects | 2 Comments »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
February 9, 2011

Oh happy day!

Today was my birthday and it was such a fun one!  In the past I’ve had super high expectations for this once-a-year celebration.  You know what happens when you have really high expectations?  They almost never get met, then you’re left with disappointment.  Not fun.  This year I collaborated a bunch with God to lower my expectations and truly appreciate every little thing that came my way.  And you know what?  It was an incredible birthday!  Seriously, the best.  I started out last night enjoying some trash TV {The Bachelor} with my girlfriends.  We had wine, fun and a lot of laughs.  I even got an early gift of…comfort food!  My girl C.Y. brought me a box of Wheat Thins {HA!} and another fave–a Starbucks gift card.  Yum.  I just love Monday nights with the girls.  We “partied” until it was officially my birthday, then we went home to crash.

{with my friend/neighbor J.J.--showing off my rosette necklace}

This morning I got to sleep in a bit, then went downstairs to gifts from my fam.  Monkey A was more than happy to give me her sweet card {one that plays a song…which will inevitably become HER card to listen to over and over} that included a gift card to one of my favorite cheap/trendy stores: Charlotte Russe 🙂  The Hubs had made me a card with a poem he had written about our last year {love his poems!} and another CR gift card.  Yes!  A informed me {stage whisper} that M’s card contained a 3rd CR gift card.  WOOHOO!  However, M was insistent that I not open his card until I was eating birthday cake.  That’s what you’re supposed to do; that’s what he did.  🙂 

After breakfast we got in the car and headed west a bit {but not before using part of my Starbucks card, of course} to join my mom, my friend A.M. and her kids for our “usual”.  Our “usual” is most parents’ nightmare.  But we love it: Chuck E. Cheese’s!  Honestly, where else can you go and, for under $25, enjoy lunch and 3-4 hours of adult conversation while your kids run around FULLY entertained?  Ok, maybe there are a few other places, but we seriously love our regular CEC “dates”.  We have found that Tuesday mornings are usually pretty dead around there.  And we’ve been there so many times over the last 2 years that the manages know us by name.  They now help us find the best coupon codes, sneak our kids extra tokens and tickets {M calls one manager “Sneaky Tony”}, bring special treats for them…it’s our own personal kid-friendly Cheers!  And ok, I have to admit that A.M. and I have a favorite game we like to play as well 😉  No cake was consumed {I’m trying to actually complement my working out by sort of watching what I eat}, but M agreed to let me open my card {another musical one, of course} over my birthday pizza {I said “sort of” watching what I eat…}, especially since I was opening my gifts from A.M. 🙂

{A.W. and A.M. at C.E.C.}

After a fun and full day at CEC, the kids and I headed back home just in time to pick up the house a bit before the babysitters came over.  Warning: you’re about to be totally jealous.  Our two neighbor girls {ages 12 and 14}, who our kids adore, babysit FOR POINTS!  Yep, for about half the year they don’t accept money for babysitting.  Their church has a point program where the kids earn points by doing things like shoveling {yes, we’ve been on the receiving end of that one too!}, babysitting, and other forms of helping.  If the kids earn a certain number of points, the church will pay their way to summer camp in full.  It’s awesome!  So…after our super-sitters arrived, another friend dropped over to bring me yet another of my comfort food staples: Diet Dr. Pepper!  Not only that, but a new tube of lip gloss.  I’m a little more than slightly obsessed with lip gloss and I LOVE trying new stuff.  Perfect little birthday surprises!  The Hubs and I headed to the mall to do a little bit of shopping before our dinner reservation.  Once at the restaurant, we ran into not one, not two but THREE sets of friends!  Two sets were celebrating birthdays today as well.  The Hubs and I enjoyed a delicious dinner, I had some incredible wine and a cute little complimentary dessert.  And even better–we used our GROUPON {if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!  Click here}, so it was half price!  Oh, how I love saving money 🙂

{The Hubs and me}

{random run-in with J.S. and K.S.}

{fun birthday treat}

{isn't it cute??}

Now here I sit, so grateful, a heart full of love and toasty warm in my University of Michigan Snuggie… Amazing how when we lower our expectations, they’re almost always exceeded!  As my mom says, We need to raise our expectations of God and lower our expectations of people. People will let you down, but God never will.  Right on, Mama; right on…

Posted in {un}Perfect People | 2 Comments »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
February 1, 2011

Let’s get comfortable

Like I mentioned earlier, we’re snowed in here.  School has already been cancelled for tomorrow and, while I’m not exactly thrilled about the kids not having school {and therefore me not having some “me” time}, I’m just going to live into it and get comfy.  We’re not going anywhere so I might as well enjoy it, right?  So, I’m already catching up on my DVR’d shows with a glass of yummy Moscato and eating one of my favorite comfort foods.  And that got me thinking…about comfort food.  What’s your go-to food when you’re sad, cold, tired, lazy, etc.?  Mine can vary, but at the end of the day, if available, I’ll always go for Wheat Thins.  Sometimes Wheat Thins and cheese, sometimes Wheat Thins with tuna.  Yep, tuna.  My all-time favorite comfort “meal” is Wheat Thins, tuna and Diet Dr. Pepper.  A bit random and not at all healthy {except for the protein in the tuna, I suppose}, but oh man do I feel good when I eat it! 

{my #1 staple}

So tell me…what’s YOUR go-to comfort food??

{mixed with olive oil mayo...yum}

{make it diet, please}

 

Posted in {un}Perfect People | 2 Comments »

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: